HC Deb 12 December 1906 vol 167 cc383-471

(Ages about seven.)

Memory Work.

  1. (1) The Lord's Prayer.
  2. (2) The Ten Commandments.
  3. (3) Duty towards God.
  4. (4) Duty towards Neighbour.
  5. (5) St. Matthew's Gospel, chap. v. (portions of).
  6. (6) St. John's Gospel, chap. x. (1 to 18).
  7. (7) Psalms I., xxiii., and xcii.

Reading or Oral.

  1. (1) Life of Joseph.
  2. (2) Life of Samuel."

It must be remembered that this was not a preparatory school for a theological college, but was a godless board school. The Archbishop of Canterbury was quite ill-informed, because of course the Primate would not make a statement which he did not think was correct, when he referred to the case of Huddersfield, which had been brought forward both in this House and in the House of Lords, in terms of reproof and even of contumely, as favouring secular education. When his hon. friend the Member for St. Alban's spoke of Huddersfield he could scarcely contain himself, because twenty years ago he was an assistant teacher in one of the Huddersfield Board schools. From 9 to 9–15 the children were gathered together as one family; they sang a hymn, the teacher read a Bible lesson and the Lord's Prayer was recited, and then the children went to their classes and entered upon their work; this was said to be a Godless Board school! A fortnight ago he took occasion to attend this service at one of the Huddersfield Board schools [An HON. MEMBER: You did not go to Huddersfield for that purpose.] No, that was true. He went down to help in a by-election; perhaps the fact that he commenced the day by attending this service, helped to secure a blessing upon their efforts. He did not want to treat this subject with anything like levity however, and he hoped he was not doing so. In the Huddersfield schools every scholar had a hymn-book, but he had never been in a Church school where that was the case. He read that the Bishop of London had said that the Lords in amending the Education Bill were doing God's work. He hoped the right rev. Prelate did not say that, but whether the Lords were doing God's work or not it was being done in these Godless Huddersfield Board schools. Under the Heneage Amendment half an hour was to be given to religious instruction each day. Huddersfield had fought this question out at several elections; they had got the sanction of the ratepayers—the parents—and Huddersfield would not do it. Was Huddersfield to be coerced by a mandamus? They saw what had happened in Wales when a mandamus was tried in a financial matter. It was impossible to contemplate a mandamus in respect of religion. The Heneage Amendment was one of two things. Either it was shameless make-believe or it was an endeavour to coerce the local authorities, and ought to be struck out of the Bill in the name of common honesty and straightforward dealing and in the interests of educational harmony and peace. In support of the Lords' Amendment providing that the teachers in the ordinary Clause 3 transferred schools should be allowed to give religious teaching, the Archbishop of Canterbury stated that vast numbers of teachers had deliberately remained in denominational schools at lower salaries than they could have obtained in other schools, in order that they might have the privilege of giving the religious teaching. He also said— I speak with intimate knowledge of them, and it is absolutely certain that no small number of them would never have entered the profession but for their firm confidence that they could pursue it on the lines on which they had entered it. They must have formed their religious views pretty early, as many of them entered the profession at the age of thirteen or fourteen. According to a well-known dictum they really ought to have died young, they were so good. The teachers told him something different, for they told him they wanted to be public servants as soon as possible, to be free from clerical domination, and any other domination except the proper control of those appointed by the ratepayers to look after their work. The Archbishop of Canterbury further said that if the teacher were not allowed to volunteer to give the religious instruction, it was a mockery to say that anybody else could be got to give it. Therefore, care would be taken that on the appointment the teacher did volunteer to give religious instruction. He was for the abolition of religious tests as far as possible, and this volunteering, which, in the first instance, would mean invitation, then persuasion, then compulsion, and then in some cases persecution, would amount to a religious test. He was rather surprised that Lord Salisbury should have brought his Amendment, providing for the right of entry into all schools, before the House of Lords. The Leader of the Opposition would remember Clause 27 of his Bill of 1896. That was the right of entry. The country would not have it at any price, and the light hon. Gentleman knew it. In 1902 Lord Hugh Cecil moved the same thing, and the right hon. Gentleman, then the Leader of the House, could not look at it; it was not practicable or possible at that juncture. Lord Londonderry, in charge of the then Government Bill in the House of Lords, said the same thing. The noble Lord the Member for East Marylebone tried it this year, but the House would not look at it. Bearing all this in mind, it was a little audacious of Lord Salisbury to try this on again. He was a little tired of the brothers Cecil on the education of the working-man's child. He wondered what would happen if the working-men turned the tables and made a few remarks on the education of the children of the brothers Cecil. All the revolutionary changes in the Bill furnished ample justification for this Motion. He would go a long way—a very long way—if he could get a settlement of this question. He rather fancied he should have to, not only for the sake of peace but for the sake of educational progress. There were too many good things in this Bill to lose. Clause 1 put every school under full public control, made the teacher a public servant, and set our faces towards a nationalised and unified system. Then there was medical inspection and treatment of the unhappy little scraps of humanity in the slums of the great cities, the greatest reform of the last thirty years. He would pay a long price to save these things. On Clause 4 he regarded the difference between four-fifths and three-fourths as perfectly trifling [Ministerial cries of "No"], at all events there was nothing substantial in it. The parents' committee, however, was a tall order. Then there came the proposal that the teacher under Clause 3 should become a denominational volunteer. In the modifications adumbrated by the President of the Board of Education, the right hon. Gentleman was asking them to pay a very heavy fine. He had some hesitancy in going with him in giving away the teacher, but if the right hon. Gentleman felt it necessary to do that he hoped he would take care to provide all due safeguards. A great many people had suggested that the Lords would not look at these proposals. He thought that they would jump at them. They would make a very good bargain. The Ministerial supporters were paying a very long price. He was absolutely prepared to pay it. He wanted to got on, and he therefore looked with some confidence to the acceptance of the Amendments by the Lords, and the securing of a settlement which would be honourable to all parties, and of lasting benefit to the children of this country.

MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

thought one of the most interesting incidents in the debate was the intervention of the noble Lord the Member for the Chichester Division of Sussex, who claimed to speak for the Catholics of England. They all recognised the zeal and sincerity of the noble Lord and his noble relative, the Duke of Norfolk, but their political skill, sagacity, and foresight were a wholly different matter. They spoke only for a small number of Catholics, who were least concerned in this matter; but the Irish Nationalist Party claimed to speak with the fullest possible authority for the toiling millions who were really concerned, whose money had gone to build their schools. The difference between them was not one as to details, but a radical difference as to policy. The noble Lord desired to wreck the Bill, and to trust to the fortunes of war which must inevitably follow. They, on the other hand, desired to save the Bill if they could. He dissociated himself from the unjust, cruel, and utterly foundationless attacks made on the Minister for Education in the course of this debate. In him they recognised a sincere friend of the Catholic schools, who understood their point of view, sympathised with them, and in the midst of great difficulties had, as he believed, done his best to meet them. Let him examine the position of the Duke of Norfolk and the noble Lord. They were for war. They were not satisfied with the Bill as sent up to the House of Lords. Nay, they were not satisfied with the Bill as modified by the House of Lords. Their policy was to reject all the Lords' Amendments and then to declare war. They showed that by voting against the Third Reading, and even in the House of Lords the great authority and position of the Duke of Norfolk only succeeded in persuading twenty-nine peers to follow him into the lobby. They proposed to force upon England a Bill more denominational than that which had been sent clown to them by the Peers, and they proposed to do this although they could only get twenty-nine Peers to support them. And how did they propose to do it? By breaking the law. The noble Lord had quoted and endorsed a remarkable speech by the Catholic Bishop of Liverpool. His programme was this—against the verdict of the country and of the House of Lords, with only twenty-nine Peers to support him, he was going to coerce the Protestant majority of England by infraction of the law of England to pass a Bill more denominational than the Peers would insist upon passing. It was a large order.


I fully endorsed the quotation, and I warned the Government that if non-Catholic teachers are appointed in Catholic schools Catholic children will not go to those schools.


said that was not the point at all. He repeated that the noble Lord and his brother were pledged to the statement that the Bill as now amended with the parents' committee, and all those securities which the Lords had put into it, did not satisfy them, and therefore he was entitled to say that the programme of the noble Lord and his brother, the only programme they had to offer them, was to impose their claims upon the people of England by defiance of the law with twenty-nine Peers at their back. Let not the noble Lord imagine for a moment that he (Mr. Dillon) would not say that under desperate and dark circumstances, for conscience sake he could not conceive a condition of things in which a small minority might be bound to defy the law. They in Ireland knew something of defying the law and they knew the consequences that followed, and he ventured to tell the noble Lord to-day that if their people in England were driven to those extremes it would not be the noble Lord or his brother who would lead them. It was very easy in this House to talk of defying the law, but it was a very different thing when it came to facing imprisonment for doing it, and he knew where their people would look for guidance or leadership if they were driven to defy the law. If they were forced to such courses as that, they (the Nationalist Party) were not the men who would turn aside from heading their people. They in Ireland had been driven to break the law and suffer for it, but let the House consider this: In Ireland who was the vast population? The laws which they defied and broke were foreign laws, imposed upon them against the will of their people, and when they broke those laws they had the support of the vast majority of their people behind them. He did not say he would not have done it under conceivable circumstances for conscience' sake, but he would have hesitated long before entering upon a course of breaking the law in order to impose the claims of 2,000,000 of people upon a population of 38,000,000. He trusted that the noble Lord when it came to that struggle would be able to mobilise a more formidable force than the twenty-nine Peers who voted against the Bill. The truth was there was a radical difference between Irish Members and the noble Lord and his friends, not on questions of detail, not on questions of principle, as regarded the ultimate object, but on questions of policy. The noble Lord and his relative, the Duke of Norfolk, looked cheerfully to the future. They had a firm belief in the ultimate triumph of reactionary forces in this country. They on those benches had no such belief. They were democrats—they were Irish Radicals, and they were convinced in their own hearts that if under the leadership of the noble Lord the fate of their schools were irrevocably bound up with the cause of reaction, Toryism and the House of Lords, they were doomed. Therefore they were slow to let go the hope that they might establish the future of their schools on some surer foundation than twenty-nine Peers. They sought to establish it on a concordat with the representatives of the majority of the democracy of England, and if they could succeed—and he thought they had made some progress towards it—in effecting a lodgment in the consciences, the good sense, and the liberality of that democracy, they would be able to establish the future of their schools on a far surer foundation. That was the difference which really existed between them and the noble Lord. But if this quarrel were to go on no doubt they would suffer. After all they were only 2,000,000 here in the midst of 38,000,000, and for them to imagine that all they had got to do was to draft their demand and say to the people of England, "Do this," and they would do it, was to court disaster for their schools. They had to fight their battles according to the position in which they were placed, and it would be madness on their part ever to forget it. Therefore, he had always felt that, if this quarrel between religion and the schools was to come on, there would be the gravest possible danger that the Catholic schools would be completely wiped out of existence in the fury of religious animosity which inevitably arose from such quarrels. But if they suffered—and he believed they would suffer bitterly if this Bill were lost—it would not be alone. The Liberal Party had much to lose. He would quote a passage from a great Liberal journal to-day, and he took their points and adopted them as his own. Speaking of the result's which would inevitably follow from the loss of this Bill and the prolongation of the fight, the journal in question said— It will mean a prolongation of the present system, already unworkable, with the stimulus of the fierce fires of religious conflict in every town and parish in England. It will mean from north to south, and east to west, the furious warfare of Church against chapel, Catholic against Protestant. It will mean, in a word, the turning of energy and intelligence, not in common warfare against the common foes of ignorance, poverty, and oppression, but in an internecine struggle in which the great organised religions will tear themselves to pieces over the children of the elementary schools. Social reform will suffer in such a conflict. Educational efficiency will suffer in such a conflict. Above all, the religious life of this people will immeasurably suffer in such a conflict. That was the position of the Radical Party if the Bill were passed. The hon. Member for Truro had expressed the opinion that there was no chance for elementary education until secularism was adopted. He would ask the Radicals of England whether they had considered the great advantages that would be given to their enemies the Tory Party if they succeeded in driving the country to secular education. To propose to expel the Bible and the name of God from the schools would be to give the Tory Party the greatest assistance possible, and they were sadly in want of assistance. Did the Radical Members not see that that was what the wrecking party on the opposite side of the House desired to drive them to? Something had been said about what was going on in France. He had not the least intention of expressing his judgment upon what was going on there, but was there not a lesson to be drawn from what was happening in Prance. He would ask the prelates and leaders of his own Church, was there not a danger that if they linked themselves under the leadership of the noble Lord and the Duke, his brother, what was now going on in Catholic France might be repeated in Protestant England? He would ask the Radical Party in this House to observe how terrible was the tendency to eat up and devour all other questions, how rapid the pace and how sweeping the current when religious passions were let loose. Were they prepared to accept the saying of the French Minister of Public Worship that the time had come to have done with the Christian idea? It was a terrible struggle, and he trusted that those whose voices were raised in this country might keep them from any danger of following the French example. As to the Lords' Amendments he did not intend to go into detail upon the concessions which had been made. His desire was to save the Bill, if concessions were put into it with regard to Clause 4 which would make it a reality and protect the Catholic schools. Almost without exception the Radical Members who had spoken in this debate had expressed the rational opinion that Clause 4 was an admitted exception to the Bill, and being an exception it ought to be made a reality. Two courses were open to the Government. They might have left out Clause 4;that would have been perfectly logical, but they decided to put in this exceptional clause, and having done so they ought to make it a reality. That was the policy of the Government and it appeared to be the policy of all those who had spoken for the Radical side of the House. On the question of the three-fourths majority, the noble Lord said that 170 Catholic schools would be excluded, and that was quite true. If, however, the ballot was a fair one, the bulk of the Catholic schools would be included. He had made it his business to make inquiries into this question in the country, and in almost all the large centres of population as well as in some small centres he found that a number of Protestants attended Catholic schools. It would be very hard upon Catholics to have their schools taken from them because Protestants sent their children without any form of compulsion to those schools. Catholic schools were almost altogether built by Catholic money and largely by the money of the extremely poor, and that showed that there was among the parents of the children a real and genuine interest in the schools. Then there was the important point of the alternative accommodation. There again the noble Lord mistook the meaning of what the hon. and learned Member for Waterford had said. What his hon. and learned friend had said was that on the point of the necessity of alternative accommodation it was manifestly unjust that one child or two children should be able to take away a large Catholic school and turn it into a Cowper-Temple school, on the plea that there was no alternative accommodation for those two children. He said that on that point the Government were open to reason, because Lord Crewe had said that the Government were considering the question of requiring the attendance of at least ten children. That showed a disposition on the part of the Government to meet Catholics. He and his colleagues were always anxious to view every effort made by the Government in a reasonable spirit. It had been said in relation to Clause 4 that it applied to Jews and Catholics only. It was not, however, a special treatment for Catholics alone. It was a provision for Jews and Catholics, and that section of the Church of England which sympathised with the Catholic view as to Cowper-Templeism. The fact was that the Church of England was divided on this question. A large body of the Church of England were content with Cowper-Templeism, whereas he and his co-religionists could not accept it at all. He was glad that the Government were also prepared to consider the question of the parents'committee. He agreed with the hon. Member for North Camberwell that there were provisions in the Bill which it would be a great pity to lose. There was the provision for enlarging and making sanitary unprovided schools and for medical inspection. These provisions were great advances in education. All these things it would be a terrible thing to lose and a great misfortune to the country; but, if Catholic people were forced to the miserable choice of sacrificing all these advantages, of going out into the wilderness, of breaking the law, or of parting with that spiritual faith to which they had clung with such extraordinary fidelity through years of persecution, then they would answer, as they had always answered, in the words of the Gospel, "Man does not live by bread alone." What then was the issue which the House had to divide upon? It was not the issue of the value of the Lords' Amendments, because they knew perfectly well that they could not have those Amendments. The only real issue not only to his colleagues and himself but also to millions of the people who were watching the debate throughout Great Britain was whether it was better for them to aid in wrecking the Bill and trust to the future or to endeavour to secure the passing of the Bill with such Amendments as were indicated in the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. It was a difficult decision for them to make, and his advice to the Party with which he was associated would be to be guided in their action by the desire to save the Bill if it could be so amended as to give reasonable protection to Catholic schools, and meet the advances of the Government in a friendly spirit and in the hope that some arrangement might be come to by which the future safety of Catholic schools would depend, not upon the twenty-nine Peers who followed the Duke of Norfolk into the lobby against the Third Reading, but upon the friendship, good faith, and toleration of the democracy of England.

LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone, E.)

referring to the observation of the hon. Member for North Camberwell that he was rather tired of the Cecil family's discussing the education of the children of working men, and his inquiry as to what they would think if working men were to offer an opinion as to the education of the children of the Cecil family, said he supposed the hon. Member referred to the public schools of this country. So far as the education in the public schools was concerned he thought the observations and criticisms of a working man would be exceedingly valuable. The question asked by the hon. Member opened a great field for social reform which he recommended to the Labour Party. He had had the honour of addressing meetings of working men, and he had not noticed that they resented any of the observations he had ventured to make on the subject of education. The hon. Member for East Mayo began his eloquent speech with an interesting disquisition on the policy and propriety of breaking the law. He quite admitted that the hon. Member was entitled to speak on that subject, but he did not know that it was likely to be a question which would be of very great interest to the House at present. On the difference between the noble Lord the Member for Chichester and the hon. Member for East Mayo on the question of tactics in relation to Roman Catholics he did not presume to offer an opinion. The members of the Irish Party had a difficult part to play in this controversy. They had to consider the interest of Catholic education—as he was sure they did sincerely—but also a variety of political questions which necessarily and properly affected their judgment in the matter. They had a number of political interests which they hoped to advance through the Party opposite, and it would be most injudicious of them to take in the controversy any action they could possibly avoid which would imperil those interests. Whether they were better exponents of the opinions of the Catholics of this country than gentlemen who had not such difficulties to contend with, it was not for him to say. They had been told by the hon. Member that Clause 4 was equally intended for the Church of England and Roman Catholics, but he forgot that the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated on the Second Reading that Clause 4 was put in for the benefit of Roman Catholics, and that it was so was perfectly evident from the restrictions in the clause. The effect which the restrictions would have showed that the whole object of the Government had been to make the clause apply to as many Catholic schools as they could and to as few schools of the Church of England as they could consistently with that object. He passed now to the main topic of the Resolution. It was said that they must reject the whole of the Lords' Amendments on two main grounds, viz., that they imposed additional tests on teachers, and interfered with public control. He called attention to the fact that there was only one provision in the Bill as originally brought in which directly dealt with tests for teachers. That remained in the Bill unaltered. It was contained in sub-section (2) of Clause 8 in the white paper. The words were— A teacher seeking employment or employed in a public elementary school (otherwise than as a teacher of religious subjects only) shall not be required as part of his duties as teacher to give any religious instruction, but he may give such instruction if he is willing to do so, and shall not be required as a condition of his appointment to subscribe to any religious creed, or to attend or abstain from attending any Sunday school or place of religious worship. He agreed with the Minister of Education that that was only the expression of an ideal. It was impossible to carry that out if it meant that they were to make no inquiry into the religious opinions of teachers appointed unless they also said that the teachers were under no circumstances to give religious instruction at all. It was not a question of the kind of religious instruction the teachers were to give whatever. The appointing authority would have to satisfy themselves that the teacher was capable of giving the religious teaching. Hon. Members deceived themselves on this question of tests for teachers. It was perfectly right to enact that no real test, in the proper sense of the term should be imposed on the teacher. That was one thing, but it was also perfectly improper and ridiculous to say that no inquiries were to be made into the belief and capacity of the teachers if they were to be entrusted with giving religious instruction. Unless they said that the teachers in all schools were not to give religious teaching they would have the principle of tests introduced. To say that what the House of Lords had done in this matter was an infringement of one of the mandates which the people of the country had given to the Liberal majority appeared to him to be little better than an absurdity. It seemed to him that they had at least extended the principle which was already found in the Bill and made it consistent and logical throughout. As to the question of popular control, he reminded hon. Members opposite of what was the meaning of that term at the last election. Popular control was said to be opposed strongly to the provisions for the management of schools sanctioned by the Act of 1902. That was what the controversy was about at the last election. Were the Government going to change the system of management and control of religious instruction adopted by the Act of 1902 or were they going to modify it? The system of the Act of 1902 was that four out of six managers should represent the owners of the school. It was said, and said apparently with the approval of the electorate, that it was not right for public money to be expended by four managers who represented the owners of the school. One hon. Member had stated that the Bill was brought in to alter that arrangement. The Government said that the only popular control admissible was the control of the local education authority. In his judgment the control of the local education authority was a very indirect form of popular control, In a very large number of cases the local education authority sat in distant county towns and had no direct knowledge of the localities except through one or two members who might or might not be in regular attendance. It was not popular control by the people affected, and that was recognised by the Government themselves, because they provided in their own Bill a system of delegation which would bring into closer touch the local education authority and the schools to be controlled. That was made compulsory on the local education authority. It was abundantly clear that nothing the House of Lords had done had infringed the principle of popular control. Apart from Clause 6, what the House of Lords had done was to say that in certain particulars the parent should be entitled to modify the control exercised by the local education authority. They had carried out to a greater extent than in the original Bill the principle originally in Clause 4 and applied it to some extent to Clause 3. They had said that the parents of the children attending the schools should be entitled to a voice, not in the general management of the schools, but in reference to the religious education. That was not infringing the principle of popular control. It was said that they ought to trust the local education authorities. After what had occurred at Swansea he should regard that suggestion much as a criminal would regard the suggestion that he should trust the executioner. There was not the slightest doubt that the local education authority assisted by one member of the Government had done their utmost to starve out of existence the voluntary schools in Swansea. When they were asked to trust the local education authorities they were entitled to ask, Which local authorities do you mean? He would take what was said by the hon. Member for the Middleton Division, who was the representative of a local authority. His ideal of education was what he called the cynic ideal, when he regarded all denominational teaching, which some of them thought was the essential thing in the education of children, as a regretful excrescence which should be removed as soon as it could be conveniently done. When they were asked to trust the local education authority, he said, "We respectfully ask you to look at what the local education authority has done at Swansea and other places, and we say we would rather not." It was all very well to sneer at the Opposition who insisted that they must trust the parents instead of the local authority, and to say that the Opposition had just discovered this necessity for trusting the parents and distrusting the local authority. He did not understand the importance which seemed to be attached in some parts of the House to the tu quoque argument. It did not matter a straw as to what had been said on previous occasions. The question was whether what they were now saying was right. He maintained that the principle that the parents should settle what religious education should be given to their children was the right one. The hon. Member for North Camberwell had said that they were trying to make a cat's paw of the parents, and the hon. Member for Truro had stated that the parents would be deluded and bribed into giving consent to certain religious teaching. He did not know that when parents were acting in that way they were being bribed and deluded; but perhaps hon. Members opposite might know better. That was all he desired to say as to popular control. If it were untrue, as he ventured to think it was, that the Lords' Amendments infringed the principle of no tests for teachers and the universality of popular control, what did the Lords' Amendments really do? In the first place, they made it certain that every child should have the opportunity of receiving some religious teaching. The hon. Member for North Camberwell had said that practically every child under the existing system had an opportunity of receiving religious instruction. As to that, he would like to look more closely into the facts before pronouncing an opinion of the subject. But the hon. Member had stated, in the second place, that if this Amendment of the Lords were placed on the Statute-book the local education authority would instantly deprive the children of any religious education at all. Was that an argument to put before the House of Commons? Parliament imposed on the local authorities all sorts of duties in regards to sanitation., the provision of water, roads, etc.; but even the most touchy of them had never declined to carry out those duties because they were made compulsory. That argument was one of the last straws which people caught at when they had nothing to say against a proposal which had been made. He thought that the danger was not so remote as some people imagined of depriving the children of religious teaching. The example of France had been held up to them, and the hon. Member opposite who did so said that that example would be followed in this country. He believed that the hon. Member was a Nonconformist and a professor of New Testament theology, and he said that this would become a question between the people of this country and the ecclesiastics. The question in France was a very large question; but it was not a question between the State and the ecclesiastics, but between the State and Christianity. [Cries of "No."] Oh, yes. It was so, and had been avowed by M. Briand, the Minister of Public Instruction, in a speech which had been posted in every town and commune in France by a preponderating vote of the Chamber. That statesman had said, in so many words, that his object was to destroy the Christian ideals. He was willing to admit that the hon. Member spoke by inadvertence when he quoted the example of France. But the danger existed in certain districts of this country that the local authority might sweep away from the schools Christianity altogether. Therefore, he maintained that the House of Lords did not do anything extravagant when they secured that some religious teaching should be offered to every child in our elementary schools. Although the House of Lords had by their Amendments given a voice to the parents as to what religious instruction was to be given, in his judgment they hid not gone nearly far enough. He had said so outside the House and repeated it now. He thought that it would be right to give the parents the controlling voice, not only on religious instruction, but in other branches of the education of their children. He believed that the tyranny of the local education authorities and of the town clerks was a tyranny that the people of this country would not indefinitely submit to. All that he and his friends wanted now, however, was that parents should have some voice in the religious education of their children; and surely that was not against the principle of the Bill; but if it were, the sooner the principle of the Bill was altered the better. The Government proposed that the Lords should take back the whole of their Amendments on which they had spent a great deal of time; re-draft them; strike out a great number of them; and then send the Bill so altered down for the consideration of this House to see whether this House would accept the new Amendments or not. He could not understand how any self-respecting body of men could be expected to do so. What security would the Lords have that their re-drafted Amendments would be treated with any more respect than the present Amendments and that their rejection would not be moved? He did not wish to attack the Minister for Education, but any one who had sat through these debates knew quite well that the right hon. Gentleman held out strong hopes that changes would be made on Clause 4, but the hon. Member for the Louth Division of Lincolnshire got up and thereupon excommunicated the right hon. Gentleman for offering to make these concessions.


said that he did not remember more than one occasion on which a concession was asked for.


said that one occasion was quite enough for him.


said that he did not give way on that occasion.


said that at any rate they were led to believe that many changes of importance would be made in considering Clause 4;but when they got to Clause 4 none of those changes were in fact made. What security, then, would the House of Lords have if they were, in obedience to the right hon. Gentleman, to re-draft the whole of their Amendments, that those re-drafted Amendments would not be promptly rejected? He remembered when he was at school and did an exercise, and showed it to the head master, the head master sometimes tore it up and did not give it back to him to improve it; but it never occurred to him to dispute the right of the head master to do so, although he did not say that that was a particularly conciliatory act. That was what the Government were doing in regard to the Lords' Amendments. The Government proposed not to consider these Amendments at all, but to send them back to the House of Lords and allow them to come to a better frame of mind. He did not care what happened in the House of Lords; that was their affair; but he asked the House to consider the constitutional aspect of this question. The change of procedure the Government were asking the House to adopt was of enormous importance. The Prime Minister admitted that he meant it to be a precedent that whenever the House of Commons disapproved of the Amendments made on a Bill in the House of Lords they were to be sent back in qlobo. [MINISTERIAL ones of "No."] That was in effect the language used by the Prime Minister; and it really amounted to this, that the House of Lords was not to amend a Bill in any drastic fashion. The Government's proposal really amounted to this, that the Lords might make one or two little Amendments in a Bill, dot the i's, and cross the t's, but they must not make any drastic Amendment. That was a very serious change to make in the Constitution and one which ought to be carefully considered. The truth was that this was the first step in the threatened attack on the other Chamber, of which they had heard so much, the first attempt to throw the House of Lords on the scrap-heap. What was the defence put forward by the Prime Minister? The right hon. Gentleman said the poor dear Lords did not know what they were doing, that the changes originally made in Committee and adhered to on Report and on the Third Reading were done in ignorance. But, as the hon. Member for North Louth told the House, the House of Lords were not all fools, and they had not confirmed the changes they had made without knowing what they were doing. The Government had not been quite frank with the House. The real reason for their procedure was that they desired to do two things at the same time, to represent what was called the great democracy and to propitiate the Nationalists and Roman Catholics—to run with the Nonconformist hare and hunt with the Roman Catholic hound. They thought this was an ingenious plan which they could place before the country as a conciliatory proposal to the House of Lords and which six months hence would allow the President of the Board of Trade to say "Look what good fellows we are; we have initiated the attack on the obfusticated party at the other end of the lobby." That might be a very good form of Parliamentary tactics, much approved by old Parliamentary hands, but he had not been so long a Member of the House as to refrain from calling it merely dishonest. The Government had asked them to reject the Amendments under terms which combined the maximum of insult to the House of Lords and the minimum of effective discussion in the House of Commons.

MR. PAUL (Northampton)

wished to say a few words in favour of peace. He could not help feeling encouraged by the whole tone of the debate, which was highly creditable to the House as a whole, and not least to that Party which at the present time happened to be in a minority. He knew he did not voice the sentiments of all who sat on the Ministerial side of the House or of all his friends and constituents outside. There were some of his friends who would rather have a fight with the House of Lords than have this Bill. He hoped he was not morbidly averse from a Constitutional conflict with that august assembly, but there were many of them on both sides of the House who, while perfectly ready to vindicate what they conceived to be their rights against another assembly at the proper time, would rather take any opportunity of doing it than on such a subject as the education of children. Roughly speaking, when this Bill went to another place it was undenominational; when it came back it was denominational. No one doubted that the noble Lords acted in pursuance of their convictions and what they felt to be the good of the country. But if the House of Lords always voted according to their individual opinion there would only be one sort of Government in power, the elections would become a farce, and the British Constitu- tion as at present understood would come to an end. In the exercise of their constitutional functions the Lords read this Bill a second time without a discussion. In the exercise of their constitutional functions they had amended and not rejected it. Charles II. amended and did not reject the Church service when he left the "not" out of the Commandments, and put it into the Creed. This was really a new Bill. The form of this Resolution had been called an insult to the House of Lords. Supposing the Amendments had been taken one by one, and east out one by one as so much rubbish, would that have been taken as a compliment to the House of Lords? But if the Government said frankly, "This is your Bill, not ours; it is not the Bill promised to the country, and we send it back in order that we may have another opportunity of considering any such Amendments proposed by you as are not inconsistent with the principles of the measure," was that an insult? He was sure that the Lords, who were men of the world, would not take it as such. The hon. and learned Member for North Louth had given an imaginative description of the Amendment to Clause 1, for there was nothing in that Amendment about "half an hour a day" or "the Word of God." The Amendment did not provide that any religious instruction might be given; the words were "set apart." It might be due to bad statesmanship or amateur draftsmanship, but nothing was said about the nature of the religious instruction to be given. Ten minutes Buddhism and five minutes Unitarianism would be sufficient to comply with that clause. In truth, whether the Amendment remained in the Bill or was struck out, no practical difference would be made in respect to religious teaching in any school. Then there were the Amendments to Clause 8, with which, like the hon. Member for North Camber well, he sympathised to some extent. That was the Amendment allowing teachers in schools of general and special facilities to give religious instruction. He hoped that teachers who now gave denominational instruction might still be allowed to continue to do so. But he was convinced that to extend the direction to future teachers was to set up a religious test, which was contrary to one of the first principles of the Bill. The reason why they could not agree on both sides of the House about religious tests was that they did not mean the same thing. Of course a teacher appointed to teach religion or anything else must be a man of capacity and knowledge and a man who could get on with the children, but when they passed from knowledge to opinion it was utterly impossible to test it. What honest man would ever teach a religion in which he did not believe? What test was there that a dishonest man would not take? Religious tests had been given up in every other department in life because it was impossible to read the mind of man. Clause4 was a denominational clause, and was of the nature of an exception in an undenominational Bill; and while he thought the Lords had gone too far in amending it, he was of opinion that schools which were frankly recognised as denominational ought to be managed in accordance with the religious opinions of those who sent their children to them. He earnestly appealed to all who had at heart the interests of complete education, education of the mind and of the soul, to do what they could to remove the difficulties which prevented the Bill from becoming law. He wondered if some of the bishops knew how many secularists they were unconsciously making. During the last few months the cause of secularism had been spreading. He believed the passing of the Bill would check it and would hinder a calamity from which God in His mercy save this Christian nation.


said the hon. Member for Northampton had come before the House this afternoon in the rôle of a peacemaker, and he had certainly carried out the intention with which he started, but he would ask the hon. Gentleman whether he thought the particular Motion for which the House was asked to vote was the best path to peace, or even a possible path. To send back to the Lords all their Amendments as a sort of pill which they were to swallow was putting too great a strain, he would not say on the sense of dignity, but on the sense of manhood, of the other House, and was not at all the action of a peacemaker. The hon. Gentleman, in justifying the course he had taken, asserted that the Members of the House of Lords had expressed their own views quite irrespectively of the views of this House and of the views of the electors of this country. He quite agreed. But when it was said that the other House, in pursuance of the practice which the hon. Gentleman condemned, had turned an undenominational Bill into a denominational Bill he could not compliment the hon. Member upon his efficiency in the art of peace-making. How could the Government Bill be called an undenominational Bill? The Leader of the Opposition had pointed out tin t under the Bill as amended in another place every parent who wished his child to have denominational education had to pay for it, and therefore every parent who preferred denominational teaching had to pay twice over. He did not believe the majority of the electors grasped that, or that they desired it. The House of Lords, however, were not going against the majority in that matter; they were not going so far as the majority in this country would have been prepared to go if the point had been put before them at the last election. He claimed that the House of Lords had given effect to views held by a very large number, if not a majority, of electors, but certainly upon points which were never submitted to the electors at the general election, in terms, at any rate, that were intelligible or could be expected to be understood. The hon. Member had next proceeded to deal with three of the Lords' Amendments. Did not that show the inconvenience of the method which the Government were asking the House to adopt? In dealing with the whole mass of the Amendments in this cursory and not very respectful fashion they were surely preventing themselves from arriving at agreement on a particular point recognised to be of primary importance. The hon. Member had an observation to make upon the clause that teachers should be free to teach. They did not believe that the electors at the last election understood by the phrase "no tests" that teachers were to be forbidden to give instruction which they had given. But even upon this point the peace-makers were ready to meet them part of the way. The opponents of the Bill thanked the hon. Gentleman for his good-will, but it did not meet the case which they put and what they believed to be the wishes of the majority of the electors upon a matter never submitted, or at any rate, never explained, to them. The hon. Gentleman was prepared to remove some of the restrictions which they thought were of an arbitrary character in respect of Clause 4, but how could he prove, or attempt to prove, that his attitude was a necessary deduction from the other cry, that local control must be preserved and confirmed throughout the country? There could be no more flimsy justification for this extraordinary Motion than to declare that it followed as a necessary consequence from the fact that a number of hon. Gentlemen opposite during the general election said that they were in favour of popular control and were opposed to tests. The hon. Member for North Camberwell, in the end of his speech, said the Bill was too good to lose, and then rehearsed the somewhat scanty hopes of concession held out by the President of the Board of Education in phrases which were certainly rather vague; but, oddly enough, on this very question of the teacher, where the last peacemaker to whom he had referred was prepared to meet them half way, the hon. Member for North Camberwell had the gravest doubts. Far be it from him to put difficulties in the way of peace, but he thought he was helping the way to peace if he pointed out that peace could not be made and no compromise was possible unless the views held by what he believed to be a majority of the electors at the present time were taken into fair consideration. He certainly took pains during the last election to find out what was in the mind of what he might call the plain man in this matter. The views of the plain man, so far as he could gather, was that insufficient consideration had been shown to Nonconformists in the Act of 1902 in all particulars, and that a teacher did not stand as good a chance if he were a Nonconformist as he would if he were a Churchman, because the number of voluntary schools was 14,000, as against 7,000 provided schools. But because of that did it follow that the plain man was to be understood to have voted against allowing the voluntary school teacher to give denominational instruction? And because the plain man further thought that the Act of 1902 did not give the Nonconformist parent in single-school areas the advantages that ought to be given to him as a parent did it follow that he understood by popular control that the wishes of the parent there and elsewhere were not to be taken into account at all? The hon. Member for North Camberwell had addressed a dialectical dart at his right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition because in the Act of 1902 he had not taken so much care for the parents' views and wishes as he now seemed disposed to take. He thought his right hon. friend had often answered that charge; he believed that on the foundation which existed of 14,000 voluntary schools and 7,000 provided schools it was impossible without altering that foundation to take the wishes of the parents into account so far as existing schools were concerned; but in respect to the future in Clause 9 of the Act, he for the first time—and a beginning must be made somewhere—laid down the principle to which he and all his followers were attached, and by which they meant to stand. The hon. Member had said that the Lords had made the administration of this Bill an impossiblity, and a little later the trend of his remarks shewed that such privileges as were accorded in Lord Salisbury's Amendment or Lord Lansdowne's Amendment could not be given without the right of equal facilities. The force of that argument was very much abated if they considered that the Lords in their Amendments had not gone all the way or even half the way towards universal facilities; they had only made certain adjustments to meet the views of parents in certain restricted eases. The second proposition to which the hon. Member appeared to be very much wedded was that these religious difficulties were more apparent in the discussions of politicians than real in the school life of teachers and children. If that were so under a system which no one had attempted to defend logically as dealing impartially with all creeds, would it not a fortiori, be far more true if by granting facilities, possibly theoretic, when the Act came into operation they removed the chance which the divine or politician had of putting a lever into the crevice and overturning the whole edifice? If the Government made their Bill fair they disarmed those who might be too zealous in the cause they had at heart. In spite of his desire to act as peacemaker, the hon. Member had gone much further to-day than he ever had before in the direction of associating himself with the out and out supporters of the Bill in its first naked shape. The hon. Member had said there was a justification for this Motion in the Amendments which the Lords had carried, and if he had said no more, of course, it would mean that they ought to kill the Bill by this Motion. But the hon. Gentleman had said more; he had said that certain hints at compromises and concessions had been thrown out by the Minister in charge of the Bill, and that he had made a great effort to support the Government. If the Lords, in spite of this extraordinary treatment to which they were to be subjected, were satisfied with certain Amendments, was it probable that the House of Lords would send down those Amendments when they had been described by supporters of the Government as Amendments ear-marked for the benefit of only one religious community in the country? Certainly no popularly-elected House would dare to take such a liberty. They had heard a speech from the hon. Member for East Mayo. Very naturally and legitimately, he spoke first of all for his co-religionists, and he said that he would not like to bind up their fortunes with the Tory Party. It seemed to him that the hon. Member had tried to place his battalions out of the line of fire to be directed against the House of Lords not only upon this Bill but upon other measures. The proposal they were discussing was a hostile Motion to the House of Lords as a revising Chamber. He could understand his inducement to make peace and to accept concessions, but that did not appeal to the Opposition. Those concessions were not addressed to those above the gangway, who throughout this controversy had fought as fairly as they could for all who believed in denominational education. He had taken steps to ascertain the views of a good many of those who voted against the Unionist Party at the last election upon the religious question, and he had gathered that they wished religion to be an element in the education of their children. He claimed that if all these advantages were given in the single school areas in villages some set-off ought to be allowed in the towns where there were nothing but board schools. That was the view taken during a very hot and burning conflict, and they desired that the wishes of the parents should be consulted. They all desired that the teacher should be free to teach and that the children should be bound to attend. It was for putting these very moderate popular opinions in this Bill that the Lords were being attacked in a manner for which there was no example in all the previous history of the relations between the two Houses of Parliament. It was for doing this that the House of Lords were charged with having traversed the two great principles of local control and no tests for teachers. The Minister for Education went hastily through about five of the Lords' Amendments and said that they traversed the principle of local control, and he said that four others traversed the principle of tests for teachers. It was hardly necessary for him to point out that there had been a profound misunderstanding as to the meaning of tests for teachers. At the election everybody understood that religion was to be an element in the teaching of every child, that every child was to attend during religious instruction, that the local authorities should be bound to take over schools when they were suitable for the purposes of national education, that the restrictions in Clause 4 should be less arbitrary, that there should be a set-off in the town for the privileges conceded in the villages, that the parent should have some voice in the choice of religious education, and that the teacher should be free to teach. And yet, because the Lords had provided for these things the President of the Board of Education told them that they were blows designed at popular control. If what was meant was that no denominational teaching was to be given, then popular control was a contradiction in terms. Many local bodies already approved of denominational teaching both in primary and secondary schools, and why should such schools be coerced in the name of popular control? The Prime Minister had stated that in the Act of 1870 this view of popular control as the equivalent of universal Cowper-Temple teaching was enshrined as the policy for the future. He would remind the Prime Minister that something had happened since the Act of 1870 was passed. A great new democratic element had been added to the constituencies of the country, and this new element was not actuated by the religious views of those who formed the electorate in 1870. The members of the Church of England who belonged to this new democratic element were very zealous Churchmen. They cared intensely for definite religious teaching, and wished it to be given to their children. It was admitted that Roman Catholics cared intensely for real Roman Catholic teaching in their schools, and it was notorious that the great majority of the Catholics in this country belonged to this new democratic element in the electorate. It was said that the Catholics in this country numbered 2,500,000, but how many of them had votes in 1870? The Jews, who were amongst the wealthiest portion of the community, also belonged to this new democratic element. There were also those who had no definite religious opinion. The hon. Member for Leicester representing organised labour spoke in favour of the secular solution, and said that in any case they desired an impartial solution. They also represented a portion of this new democratic addition to the electorate. Since those who were now sitting on the Ministerial side of the House did not interpret local control at the general election as meaning something which would restrict religious teaching to Cowper-Templeism, by what warrant were they acting now when they were trying to bring about a constitutional conflict between the two Houses without the slightest justification for taking such a course? In his opinion the House of Lords had performed a duty which any Second Chamber was bound to perform under similar circumstances. As Conservatives they were prepared to make the best of things as they existed. Rapturous cheers went up when the Minister for Education said he was not at liberty to accept any of the Lords' Amendments, but those cheers hailed the white flag of surrender as it went up. It was understood that Ministers were prepared to take back only those Amendments which benefited one religious community in the country. That being the case, could the right hon. Gentleman ask the Opposition to deceive themselves and to believe that there was going to be peace or compromise unless he met them and those whom they represented as fairly as he was prepared to meet hon. Gentlemen below the gangway?

MR. CHANCE (Carlisle)

said that in addressing the House for the first time he would ask for the indulgence which was always extended on such occasions. He ventured as a Churchman to express his very strong hope that some settlement might be arrived at on this question in the interest both of religion and of education. It seemed to him that it would be intolerable if Members of the House had to "plough the sands" of the religious controversy for a great part of another session. He thought there was not such a great deal standing between hon. Members on the two sides of the House. There might be some who desired to wreck the measure, but he thought that the majority wished to see the Bill passed into law. With reference to the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover, he felt that there was no desire on the part of the Government in any way to treat with bluff or with indignity the Amendments of the other House. Of course it would be practically impossible to carry the Bill through if all the Amendments had to be considered seriatim. A great deal had been said with regard to Cowper-Temple teaching. He had had some practical experience of education, and, although a Churchman, the Cowper-Temple teaching would meet all his requirements, but he recognised that there were many among his Church friends, and also among Roman Catholics, who required other treatment. He was much interested in the speech of the hon. Member for Waterford when he pointed out that the only olive branch which had been offered had been held out by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Education, and stated that if the suggestions they made had only been in the Bill the Government would probably have had the undivided support of the Irish Party. He hoped that even now those suggestions would be carried out. He trusted that the Government would holdfast to those concessions which they had shadowed and that those who had taken up a non possumus attitude would reconsider their position and help in carrying the measure into law. He thought the Government had made considerable concessions which ought to meet all reasonable requirements. In the first place, the Minister for Education had stated that there was to be religious teaching in school hours by the ordinary teacher. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] Then there were the suggestions as to the inclusion of the urban areas in the special facilities clause, and the lowering of the four-fifths proportion necessary for the obtaining of those facilities to two-thirds. With regard to teachers, he quite recognised that the Government had not given any definite view on the subject, but they were willing to consider it. He thought there was no reason at all why this question should not be settled, and he sincerely hoped that the Bill would be carried into law.

MR. MASTERMAN (West Ham, N.)

congratulated the hon. Member for Carlisle in having been able to preach peace in his first speech. When he himself addressed the House for the first time, he unfortunately had to preach war. He reminded the House that when the Education Bill was introduced, he declared that the settlement advocated by the Government was an impossible one, and that he made the same statement on the Third Reading. If, therefore, he now found himself on the side of peace, and, for the first time in the course of the controversy, whole-heartedly on the side of the Government in their action, it was because they had, and he hoped not too late, agreed to the insertion of safeguards of the rights of minorities compatible with the general scheme they had laid down for the solution of the education difficulty. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover, had spoken as a member of the Church of England, and he had a right to do so; but he had not the right exclusively to speak for the Church of England. They had heard too much both in the House of Commons and in the House of Lords of members of one political Party declaring that they alone represented the interests of the historic and established Church. There were sitting habitually in that Chamber on the Ministerial side at least a hundred recog- nised and confessed members of that Church, in every degree as loyal to it as Members opposite, and who were very largely prevented from agreeing with the policy of those gentlemen because they thought that it would lead to the ruin of that Church. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover had accused the Government of attacking the House of Lords. It would have been easy for the Prime Minister, and he thought such a course would have been more agreeable to the majority of the Liberal Party, to have given the signal for an attack upon the House of Lords. But he had deliberately refrained from doing so, and he himself was thankful for it. Whatever the future of the religious life of the nation, he had no enjoyment in dragging such questions into the arena of Party politics. It I had been said that while the Government had met the demands of the Roman Catholic Church they had offered nothing to meet the demands of the Church of England. That was not a true statement of the actual facts. Clause 4 and any concessions or agreements on Clause 4 must apply as clearly to the members of the Established Church as to the members of the Roman Catholic Church. If they were sufficiently dissatisfied with ordinary Bible teaching in the school as to demand through the parents facilities in their schools for special teaching they would get those facilities. If there was a distinction between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church in the matter, it was that the Church of England had established schools more largely in the rural areas, with not only a religious, but a social domination, and he recognised that of necessity any political Party which had come with a mandate for the enfranchisement of these rural areas from this domination must make a distinction between big cities where alternative schemes could be made and places where they could not. When he declared that the settlement proposed by the Bill as originally introduced was impossible, he was allowed to plead for what he regarded as the only possible final settlement—a settlement which would recognise, as practically every other community in similar circumstances had recognised, that it was impossible for the State to undertake the teaching of various religions, but that the work should be undertaken by parents acting in communication with the leaders of the religious life of the nation. This, the secular solution, was received as if it were a wild type of atheism, hostile to the whole religious life of the people; but the course of events and thought during the summer and autumn had brought this settlement out of the region of academic interest into the region of practical politics, and tons of thousands of the population of this country had been turning, even if reluctantly, from any conception of a settlement which would meet the claims of the conflicting churches to a settlement which would put entirely outside of the schools all this religious controversy. The addition which the House of Lords had made to Clause 1 was not legislation at all. It was a matter of administration. The noble Lord the Member for East Marylebone had invited the House to accept that Amendment as it stood. Some local authorities would not submit to this dictation, and would immediately set themselves to provide the very form of religious instruction to which the noble Lord objected, namely, the religion of general agreement which was dear to the municipal mind, but was not dear to the mind of the theological student. The second Amendment was one in regard to an arrangement which the Minister for Education had pleaded for all through the summer. The right hon. Gentleman had indicated that there was no chance of its becoming law even if the rest of the Bill were to become law. He regretted the abandonment of the original Clause 7 which the Minister for Education had said was bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, because he believed that it provided the only satisfactory conscience clause in the schools. The last clause alluded to by the hon. Member for; North Camberwell was that which seemed to him to be worth all the rest of the Bill put together, viz., the clause which allowed the doctor into the schools. He and his friends had been fighting for this for years. It was with some intimate knowledge acquired after long years of personal investigation that he declared that that clause would accomplish a large social reform, and he would very respectfully ask the Minister for Education, even if no agreement could be come to in regard to the religious controversy, that this charter for the physical welfare of the children should by some truce of God become law. He hoped the House would recognise that the prolongation of this controversy made directly for the coming of the secular solution. Eagerly as he desired that solution, he was wholly prepared to accept the kind of agreement which the Minister for Education had outlined. He knew that that was entirely an illogical position; but if this Bill were abandoned it would not lead to any more just compromise in the near future, as hon. Members opposite thought. He ventured to prophesy that no Minister for Education in the near future would attempt any kind of large compromise such as that which had been attempted this year, and for which the Minister had pleaded against opposition from extremists in all quarters of the House. The Act would go on being administered with pressure on the one side to administer it in one direction and pressure on the other side to administer it in the other direction; and the fires of religious controversy would pass out of this House into every town and village and hamlet; in the country. They were throwing the great religions of England into the cockpit of political discussion. What was to emerge out of it? He did not dread a secular solution in the schools, but he dreaded the secularisation of the nation. That was the alternative that was offered, unless some kind of settlement such as this, which satisfied no one, and therefore might perhaps satisfy every one, were accepted. It would not be that the religions of this country would agree to withdraw their acceptance of public subsidy for their faith, and try to find some common religion in which they could educate the children. It would be that the people would thrust altogether outside the schools the religions that were tearing each other in a struggle which in their calm moments they all recognised as an ignoble and indecent one. He knew something of the kind of feeling which was growing up in the great centres of population, and he could assert that the final result would be, not secular education, or some such compromise as this, but the establishment among the industrial classes, now for the most part favourable to the ancient historic faith, of something of that spirit which made the French Minister for Labour exclaim the other day— We have torn the lights from the sky and they will never be rekindled again. It was with a profound sense of the serious nature of the issue now involved to the future of the religious life of this country that he ventured to appeal to all who had any claim to represent the religion of the people to consider whether, even at this hour, there might not be averted such a disastrous result.

*Mr. BUTCHER (Cambridge University)

said he would limit his remarks to a single point on which it seemed likely that there might be acute disagreement between the two Houses. The Minister for Education had held out some vague hope that a compromise might be found on the question whether the teachers in schools under Clause 3 should be allowed to give the special religious instruction. He invited the right hon. Gentleman to fill in the sketch a little more fully. By doing so he would be doing a service to the House and to his Bill. He hoped the offer would be something better than the suggestion that existing teachers should be permitted to give that instruction while future teachers should not. That would be merely a personal privilege which would not affect any question of principle and it would solve nothing. The position was very peculiar. The Government started with the principle that no teacher was to be compelled to give religious instruction if he objected to do so; but they had swung round to the position that no teacher should be permitted to give a particular kind of religious instruction, even if he desired it, out of school hours. This muzzling order was made in the name of freedom. It was undoubtedly a very humiliating disability for the teacher. What must the pupils think on the matter? Would they not say to themselves, "Is the teacher incompetent that he is not to give us this teaching; or, is the subject so trivial as to be below the dignity of the teacher?" Anyhow, the result of the clause was that outsiders must be brought into the schools to give religious instruction. In the small country schools it might be just possible to carry out that system, but it was a rather curious suggestion to come from the other side of the House that the laymen should be ousted by the parson. On the other hand, everyone knew that in large urban schools the system would be simply unworkable. Volunteer teachers could not be got, and even if they were obtained the teaching would be inferior in value and discipline impaired. The Minister for Education, when pressed to give the right of entry into the council schools for special religious instruction, declared it would produce chaos or even pandemonium; and yet that chaos he proposed to introduce into the voluntary schools. Nobody knew better than the Minister for Education that imported outsiders could not carry on the religious instruction, so that the facilities promised under Clause 3 became an educational sham. This was an extreme instance of what was elsewhere found in the Bill—that denominational religious teaching, when admitted at all, entered in only through half-closed doors or by dubious loopholes. The Minister for Education had told them that the prohibition was inserted in order to prevent any test, direct or indirect, being imposed on the teachers. He ventured to say that "no religious test" was a juggling and fallacious phrase; and some of the speeches made that afternoon proved his point. They were all agreed that tests in the strict and technical sense did not come into the case at all. Nobody had imposed them, and, so far as he knew, no one had even suggested them. The word "tests" was used in two senses, the technical sense and the loose and popular sense; and the odium which attached to the former class of tests was transferred to the test which denoted fitness to give religious instruction. The reasoning adopted seemed to be of this kind:—Fitness to give religious instruction might influence appointments; therefore there must be no inquiry on that score: and fitness to give that instruction must be excluded from the recommendations for office. But this was in practice impossible so long as any form of religious teaching was part of the school curriculum. Surely any sensible body of men would make private inquiry as to what the candidate was—what were his antecedents and what was his training—and these inquiries would elicit precisely those facts upon which they were told no inquiry was to be made. Then there was another very curious thing about the phrase "no religious tests." Those who used it as a popular catch-word assumed that "no religious tests" meant "no denominational tests," and they appeared not to see that the difficulty about tests applied to the council schools as well as to the denominational schools. No one would contend that an agnostic should give even Cowper-Temple teaching in a council school, or teach one of those dogmatic Christian syllabuses which had been held up to the admiration of the House. It would be just as bad as that a Roman Catholic should teach Protestantism, and rather worse, because the Catholic and the Protestant did hold the fundamentals of the Christian faith in common. The Minister for Education speaking on this point in relation to Clause 3 said— If a candidate was to be asked 'Will you give religious teaching,' and he answered 'no,' it would seriously reduce the chances of his appointment. Similarly the noble Earl who had charge of this Bill in another place said— The teacher knows that if he refuses he may lose money, which he can ill afford not to earn, and does not want in many cases to have that temptation put before him. Was not that quite as applicable to the teacher who gave Cowper-Temple teaching as to the teacher who gave denominational teaching? Yet the Bill made a distinction between the two. The truth was that intelligent inquiries would and must be made in the case of every candidate who offered to give any religious teaching. Personally he attached far more value to the conscience, the honour, and the convictions of the teacher than he did to any kind of test or inquiry. In the last resort he believed that to be the true safeguard and better than any formal profession of faith that could be devised. The supporters of the Bill agreed in this; but they argued that conscience and convictions were not always proof against the temptations of gain or against indirect pressure, social or moral. How then did they meet that difficulty? They did it in this way. They took one class of schools which were almost all schools of the Church of England, and said that the teachers in these schools must not be exposed to temptation; they must be shielded from it; and the only way in which they could be shielded was by being forbidden to teach. They took two other classes of schools in which they said, "Let the teacher teach without let or hindrance." The first of these consisted of Clause 4 schools, which were an avowed exception to the principle of the Bill. The second comprised all the Cowper-Temple schools; and in these the principle of no tests was indeed assumed to hold good, but the logical deduction from it which was applicable to the denominational schools, was not drawn. If the Bill were consistent it would say that no teacher even in a provided school should give religious instruction; but the Bill allowed the teacher in that class of school to teach religion in spite of all temptations to which his conscience was exposed. Then let them accept this inconsistency all round, and make it applicable to all schools. His argument, therefore, was this, that the phrase "no religious tests," direct or indirect, belonged to a purely secular system of education; it was in keeping with that system and in its proper place there; it did not belong to a system in which there was any kind of recognised religious teaching whatever. The Bill, in short, halted between two solutions. In more words, it inclined, though doubtfully, to the religious side. In spirit, in drift, in tone, it inclined towards the secular side. It contained within it the seeds of secularism, and it was just that hard core of secularism which created the collision between the interests of the teachers on the one hand and the interests of education and of the children on the other. He did not think there ought to be any such collision, but if the material interests of the teacher did come into conflict with the welfare of the children, the lower interests must give way before the higher.

MR. HARWOOD (Bolton)

said the feeling of the House and of the country was one of great interest in this question. They were not animated by any fear of a contest with the House of Lords, and many of them would welcome it, but the issues were too serious to be considered in that way. They had to listen to many cries, but the most serious was that of the children. The Bill was not one about religion but about education, and all of those who were engaged in educational matters would do much rather than risk the Bill. If he were a friend of the House of Lords he should counsel them not to be guided by their counsellors on the other side. They would be very ill advised if they took the extreme course that was recommended. It had been suggested that this was an unprecedented procedure in dealing with the House of Lords. If there was anything unprecedented it had been the action of the House of Lords itself. Instead of being a revising assembly as had been stated they were a reversing assembly. He did not believe that any Bill had ever come back from the House of Lords so fundamentally altered as this. Another element of unprecedentedness had been the action of the Government. No Government when proposing a measure of this kind had, he believed, ever held out the olive branch in such a manner as had the Minister for Education. It was suggested that the procedure was an insult to the House of Lords, but there was another element adopted which had not been considered, and that was the element of time. It was impossible from that point of view to do what had been suggested by hon. Members opposite. Would it have been less insulting to bring these Amendments before the House and reject them one after the other? What the Government had said was that it was impossible to consider these Amendments one by one, that among other things time prevented. They asked the House of Lords to take them back and make Amendments which this House could consider within the compass of the Bill. He was not a very old member of the House, but so far as he knew no Government in having to deal with the House of Lords in a matter of this sort had shown the same conciliatory spirit, and held out the same conciliating prospect as the present Government. They said they were fully open to consider Amendments consonant with the character of the Bill in the time at their disposal. He wanted the House to realise their position in this matter. For the moment this Bill had left their hands, probably they would be called upon to ratify any arrangement that might be made, but at present they had to remain silent. They were now standing at the table at which the Government were trying to strike a bargain. They had no voice in that bargain, but how far the Government might go would depend very much on this House. He wanted those who were listening to the cry of the children to do all they could to assist the Government. He therefore desired to put before all sections of the House one or two matters for their consideration while they stood around the table witnessing the bargain they might be called upon to ratify. The speech of the Minister was perfect in everything except its humour and the ground taken up by him most was promising. The House while they were standing by must remember that first of all this Bill was not logical. That was its best recommendation. Nothing that was logical succeeded in this House. It would have been logical to have said that the State should have nothing to do with religion; but that principle had been departed from. They must bear in mind also that the Bill was in the spirit of compromise. It was illogical that the Cowper-Temple clause should obtain in some schools and not in others, but that system worked well. Then with regard to tests, everybody wanted the teachers to be free from tests, but the plan taken in this Bill of shutting their mouths and padlocking their lips was not a Liberal one. The principle of Liberalism was not to stop a man teaching anything he liked to teach. In the arrangement that the Government might make it must be remembered that the freedom of the teachers would be very different. When the schools were under public control the centre of gravity would be changed and the master would be the local authority, and no one would suggest that an English local authority would allow tests to be put on a teacher. They must also bear in mind that the Church of England had done a great deal of the work in the past at a great sacrifice, and the public did not want the House to forget that. Much had been said about the mandate given at the general election, but he did not believe that that mandate was so much, a positive mandate for education as a negative one. In his part of the country the people thought the Act of 1902 was unfair, and they had revolted because it was unfair rather than from any positive desire for education. The mandate given was a protest against the principle of giving public money without public control, and what the House had to do was to carry out that mandate, and they had no right to carry the mandate further than to see that where public money was given, public control was enforced. To hon. Gentlemen opposite he desired to say that they ought also to bear in mind that the Government had shown every desire to meet their case, although there might be some schools where it had not been adequately met. And he begged his Roman Catholic friends to bear in mind that they might put some trust in the local authorities of England, and that they would find them fair. If the Roman Catholic schools did not come within Clause 4 he was quite certain that every local authority in England would administer the Act fairly in regard to what was just in the Roman Catholic demand. He did not believe they would ever do anything so preposterous as to put into a Roman Catholic school teachers who were not Roman Catholics if Roman Catholics could be found. It was a curious thing that although there was so much discussion on the religious difficulties, those difficulties were not apparent in local life. He did not think a single Roman Catholic school in the country would have the least reason to complain of injustice even if it did not come within the four-fifths clause. With regard to the Church of England itself he very much objected to spokesmen of one political Party in this House or the other being taken as the spokesmen of the Church of England. There were quite as many Churchmen on the Ministerial as on the Opposition side of the House, and those on the Ministerial side were quite as good and loyal Churchmen as hon. Gentlemen opposite. He protested against one school of political thought being taken as the exponents of the wants of the Church of England as a whole. The national character of that Church would be placed in jeopardy if it allowed itself to be committed to the care of one political Party. The first thing that everybody should remember was that the nation paid for education. That was an important factor, and therefore they could not have all their own way as if they paid for the education themselves. If they took the nation's money for education they ought to be prepared to give up something in return. With regard to the present position, he thought they had better agree with their adversary while they were in the way with him, because he doubted whether the chance would ever occur for making a better bargain than could be made at the present time. He was not thinking so much of Party as the results which would follow if they threw this question back into the melting pot, because then they would find the gordian knot which the right hon. Gentleman was trying to untie would be cut. He was inclined to think that the people would cry out "a plague upon both your houses; let us have done with this difficulty and squabbling, and let us confine education to merely secular instruction." He hoped his friends in the Church of England would think very seriously before they cast away this chance of compromise, and he hoped the House of Lords would not deal rashly with any suggestions made by the Government. The House of Lords had now a chance of doing a great service not only to the Church of England but for education generally, and such an opportunity might never occur again.

*SIR FRANCIS CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)

said they had had some; interesting contributions to the cause of peace, and nothing had been more interesting to him than the eloquent; and delightful speech of the hon. Member for North West Ham. The hon. Member had offered as a sacrifice on the altar of conciliation his own cherished view that the only true solution of our religious troubles was the secular solution. For if the Bill passed that would end the secular solution. He dissented entirely from his view as regarding secular education, because no man was more convinced than he was that religious teaching was indispensable to the lives of the little children of this country. The slum children would not be drawn into the special religious teaching under the general right of entry. They would be barred out from those happy and most stimulating associations of religious life which were so indispensable to the future welfare of the country. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover had asserted that the proposal of the Government to send back the whole of these Amendments to the House of Lords was certainly to defeat their object. The Lords' Amendments were being sent back for the reason that they represented a complete reversal of the whole ideas and principles which were laid before the House in this Bill. Such an absolute and complete reversal of their Bill could not be considered, but it was rather a compliment to the Lords as good harvesters to invite them themselves to sift the wheat from the tares, and the Government were prepared to give thoughtful consideration to any reasonable Amendments. No course could have been more calculated to arrive at a solution of the difficulty than that which had been adopted by the Government The right hon. Gentleman opposite had stated that the House of Lords had taken the course which a second Chamber should always take in the way in which they had dealt with this Bill. That was a statement which he traversed at once. Those who were supporting the view of the House of Lords had really failed to grasp the real constitutional meaning of the grave and serious situation in which they were placed. Any man who would speak rashly and indulge in Party invective and vituperation in regard to the Upper House in the present situation would be making a grave and unpatriotic mistake. Nevertheless, in dealing as they had done with this Bill—sent to them red hot from the anvil of public approval at the General Election, directly after a mandate had been pronounced by the greatest majority which any Government had enjoyed for many general elections—the House of Lords had taken a course which in his opinion was a grave political and constitutional blunder. If the House of Lords upon reconsideration repeated that blunder and did not modify their Amendments they would be inflicting a great constitutional wrong to the majority in the House of Commons, and they would be doing a grave injustice to that enormous preponderance of the electorate which returned such a large majority to support the present Government. He could not imagine any candid man not assenting to the proposition that the origin of this Bill was the breach of the prolonged truce which had existed for a generation between the board schools and the voluntary schools. The whole of the principles on which that truce had rested were set aside by the Bill of 1902, and the claim was made that the fullest support both of taxes and rates should be assigned to denominational schools, as an endowment without complete popular control over the schools. He would ask any fair-minded man who remembered the history of the last four or five years since the passing of the Act of 1902 whether it was not true that every issue raised by that Act had been threshed out and heard and re-heard. These questions had all been fully considered in every portion of the country, and the decisive verdict at the general election only ten months ago was a direct pronouncement on every count of the indictment, and constituted the clearest mandate any Ministry could have to introduce legislation to deal with this question. He would not argue the details of the Lords' Amendments, but it was perfectly clear that by them public control was fettered and hampered, and there would be no direct local control under the Lords' proposals in the sense contemplated by the original Bill. The whole principle of the freedom of the local authorities to select their teachers and to determine to what extent special religious teaching should be given in the denominational schools transferred by the Bill had been practically set aside by the House of Lords. This seemed to him an attempt at re-endowing and entrenching for ever the system of denominational schools, and to deny that it was a complete reversal not only of the Government Bill but also of the precise and definite mandate of the majority of the people seemed to him to be idle and absurd. He wished to deny some of the statements which had been made as to the failure of the people to grasp these issues, and their desire to express by their votes a clear.and definite declaration of their views. He stated emphatically that the last general election was a stand up fight between the principle of national education and the principle of universal denominational schools, belonging to the sects and used for the purposes of those sects. The nation had decided for a national system and this mandate was effectively carried out. With a desire to see that transition which the nation had pronounced in favour of carried out gently and considerately, the President of the Board of Education had introduced various concessions in the first clause of this Bill that after a certain date every school in the country should be placed in the position of a board school. He had denounced some of those concessions which bound and fettered the freedom of the local authority because he believed that that freedom was the best instrument for carrying out the popular will and evolving that true system of national education which the people had demanded. The mandate given at the general election had an important meaning which it would be rash to set aside. He did not deny the right of the House of Lords to suggest Amendments and to act as a revising Chamber, but to claim the right to upset the whole meaning and verdict of a general election was a grave constitutional wrong. It was only right that the House of Lords should bear in mind the real and definite meaning of that great mandate on which he had insisted. This point had a tremendous bearing upon the Ministry as well. He agreed that they must make some concessions, and he did not so much object to concessions in Clause 3. But with regard to Clause 4, if they gave up the restriction which applied to urban districts and the population limit and the freedom of the local authority to give extended facilities at their own discretion, he thought the Government would deeply violate the opinions and convictions of their best supporters, and produce a feeling of uneasiness and unrest which would weaken their position in the country. Those were points which he urged the Government to bear in mind. He yielded to no man in his desire to see this Bill passed. In the Act of 1902, nothing was more to be deplored than the abolition of the school boards and the consequent removal of those opportunities far the encouragement of expert knowledge in the administration of the education laws which had proved so beneficial and had stimulated local interest in educational matters. In his opinion, that was the real key to the great success of the school board system which had lifted up so much the standard of education. He attached great importance to the delegation clause, because it was calculated to recreate that spirit of local responsibility which existed so largely under the old school board system. He also attached profound importance to the initiation of the policy of providing for the physical as well as the mental welfare of the children. For all these reasons he sincerely trusted that the efforts which were now being made to arrive at a settlement would be successful. He sympathised in the warmest possible manner with the eloquent and touching appeal which had been made by the Member for North West Ham. He had also had the advantage of listening to a great many speeches upon this subject in the other House of Parliament, and he had attended many meetings of Churchmen and Nonconformists outside the House of Commons. From all he had heard he had no hesitation in saying that this Bill judiciously handled, if it became an Act, would prove to be an instrument for pacifying this deadly, ruinous, and devastating religious war, and would produce a spirit of unity which might lead to the chiefs of the various religious bodies agreeing upon some form of common religious instruction, which could be introduced into all the elementary schools of the country, and would prove a permanent barrier to that secularisation of the schools of the nation which he looked upon as the greatest evil which could come upon this country.

MR. HENRY (Shropshire, Wellington),

speaking as a member of the Jewish persuasion, and voicing, as he believed, the opinions of many of his co-religionists, stated his belief that the Government had shown a real desire to deal liberally and broad-mindedly with existing schools in the cities and towns. He fully believed that the proposals adumbrated in connection with this Bill would be effective and have the desired results. If by some modification the position which had been taken up could be maintained he felt sure no material opposition would be offered from any quarter of the House. He had no hesitation in stating that if by the extension of the facilities contained in Clause 4 the Bill had been jeopardised and its purpose frustrated, he would rather see Clause 4 eliminated than that the discontent aroused by the Act of 1902 should continue. As representing a constituency largely composed of members of the free churches, he bore witness that the popular resentment against the Act of 1902 had in no way abated. There was no matter which his constituency considered of greater importance or more urgent than that the Government should nationalise education as far as possible and do justice to all denominations. It was admitted on all sides that this question bristled with difficulties. The Bill originally introduced by the Government was a fair and just measure, and he hoped that when it went back to the House of Lords it would be treated in such a manner that it could be passed into law by this House. He trusted that the forebodings of hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition side would not be realised. If this measure was amended in a reasonable way many great educational difficulties would be solved, and they would be able to go ahead in the same manner as other nations had done.

MR. PARTINGTON (Derbyshire, High Peak)

said the principal argument used by the opponents of the Bill had been that they desired all children to be brought up in the religion of their parents. Surely they were all agreed upon that point. The noble Lord the Member for East Marylebone had said that the parents should have a controlling voice in the religious instruction of their children, but it seemed to him a rather strange thing that they should have to listen to that argument now. When the Bill of 1902 was being discussed in this House he remembered that the hon. Member for East Mayo moved on Amendment which would have given the parents a controlling voice in the religious education of their children. It was suggested then that one-third of the managers of the denominational schools should be appointed by the trustees, one-third by the education authority, and one-third by the parents of the children attending the school. If they had had that, they would have had to a large extent popular control, and the parents would have had an opportunity of seeing that their children were taught their own religious beliefs. He was glad that the whole of the Liberal Members voted in favour of that proposal, but the late Government would not accept it. At the election ten months ago he pledged himself to the granting of facilities for denominational instruction, and he was glad that the President of the Board of Education had suggested Amendments which would make those facilities a reality. He hoped the House would consider this matter carefully and not reject the Amendments. He thought they would be accepted by all fair-minded people in the country. He did not suppose that the political churchman was likely to accept them, but he did not think that anything would satisfy him but a change of Government. He should have preferred to see them set down on the Paper, and that they should be generously given instead of appearing to be wrung from the Government by the House of Lords. Most parents would be satisfied with the facilities afforded by Clauses 3 and 4. The objections to the Bill came from politicians, not from parents.

*SIR PHILIP MAGNUS (London University)

shared the hopes of many Members that the measure might not be wrecked, but in some form or other passed into law as the result of the Government's acceptance of further Amendments. It might not matter politically whether the Bill passed this session, but it mattered very much educationally. He and those on the Opposition side of the House attached great importance to two essential principles as part of any system of national elementary education. First, that religious instruction should be given in all elementary schools; secondly, that such instruction should be, as far as possible, in accordance with the wishes of the parents of the children. The first of these principles was contained in the addition the Lords had made to Clause 1, that no school should be recognised as a public elementary school "unless some portion of the school hours of every day is set apart for the purposes of religious instruction." He attached equal importance to the second principle, that the religious instruction should be so far as possible in accordance with the wishes of the parents. He said advisedly "so far as possible, "for no one could have listened to these long debates without recognising that there might be cases in which it was difficult to give within school hours the particular religious instruction which some few parents might desire, but they could not legislate for exceptions. In legislating for the masses of the people he thought they had a right to say that the new Education Bill should be so framed as to give prominence to the principle that so far as possible the religious instruction should be in accordance with the wishes of the parents of the children. That principle was recognised by hon. Members on the other side of the House as well as on the Opposition side. The question between them was only one of the means by which those principles could best be carried into effect. He was willing to admit that even in the Bill as it left the House of Commons those principles were to some extent implied, but they were implied by way of exceptions, whereas in the Bill as amended by the House of Lords they were recognised as fundamental principles of any system of national education, and it was for that reason that he attached great importance to the addition to the clause made in another place. He was fully aware that it was said by members of the Government that this would interfere with two principles which the Liberal Party was returned with a mandate to support, namely, that there should be popular control and that the teachers should be free from any religious tests. His hon. friend the Member for Cambridge University had distinctly shown the general view which was held on the question of religious tests. He would point out that even in the Bill as approved by this House some form of religious test for the teachers was admitted. He was sure that the Secretary to the Board of Education would be the first to admit that, if the teachers were to be appointed to give denomi- national instruction, it was absolutely essential that the managers and the local education authority should ascertain the fitness of those teachers to give such instruction.


said that he had carefully restricted his remarks to teachers who were engaged exclusively to give the religious instruction.


said that he did not understand the hon. Gentleman in that way; but whether the hon. Gentleman made that statement or not, he appealed to hon. Members of the House to say whether it was not desirable that a person appointed to give religious instruction should only be so appointed if found qualified to give that instruction. Clause 4, as amended, provided that, where extended facilities were afforded, the local education authority should permit the teachers employed in the school to give the instruction desired, if they were willing to do so, but not at the expense of the authority. If they were to be permitted to give religious instruction under this Bill, how could they do it unless the fitness of the teachers to do so was previously ascertained? The principle of religious tests was recognised in Clause 4 of the Bill when it left the House of Commons. The only other point on which he understood there was any essential difference of opinion between the two Houses was that, according to the Amendment of the Lords, the teachers in Clause 3 schools should be permitted, if they were willing, to give that instruction. That was a question on which some amount of compromise might be made; and he understood from the speech of the Minister for Education that he himself considered that that was one of the questions on which compromise was possible. They had heard over and over again that they should trust the local education authorities. The teachers under Clause 3 were, he understood, to be appointed by the local authority, and yet in this instance the Government stepped in and withdrew from that body the power of permitting the teachers to give religious instruction. That seemed to him to indicate a want of confidence in the local authority. The last speaker had said that the local authority was fettered by the Lords' Amendment in their freedom in the appointment of the teachers. He had examined the Lords' Amendment and was unable to see how the local authority was hampered in that respect. There had been a large amount of exaggeration on this point by hon. Gentlemen opposite. He had had some experience of local authorities; he had been a member of the London School Board, and was at present a member of one of the most progressive county Education Committees in the country, but he had never found that they had resisted any suggestions made to them by the Board of Education. The local authorities were indeed only administrative bodies appointed to carry out the policy indicated to them by Parliament. For his part he believed that the local authorities preferred that the choice of a policy should not be left to them, but that the law should be definitely laid down for them. It was on that ground that he contended that in making Clause 4 mandatory they were not taking away from the local authorities any freedom which they might legitimately exercise. It was well known that the schools were not only supported by the rates, but by grants made by Parliament, and therefore it was only right that the Government of the day should indicate to the local authorities how they were to carry out their educational duties. It would be admitted that the Government had not stated in what way the Lords' Amendments altered the principle of the Bill as sent up from this House. He agreed with the last speaker that it would have been easier to have arrived at a satisfactory solution of this difficult question if they had discussed the Lords' Amendments seriatim, and so have seen which of the Amendments they could accept and with which they differed seriously. They had been told that there was great difficulty in proceeding on those lines because of the cumulative effect of the Amendments with which the House of Commons could not concur. He could not understand how they could ascertain the cumulative effect of the Amendments without considering the effect of the Amendments taken singly by themselves. It was pointed out that the length of those Amendments rendered it physically impossible for the House to consider them. He admitted that the Amendments were numerous, but many of them were consequential and did not impair the principles of the Bill He would remind the House of the fact that the Amendments which the Government themselves had introduced into another Bill before the House were longer than the whole of the Bill when it was first submitted. But the Lords' Amendments as introduced into this Bill had the effect of giving greater precision to the clauses of the Bill, and he was certain that many of them were of such a nature as did not injure the principle of the Bill. It must be admitted that some of the Amendments made the Bill a more workable measure. He would quote the Amendment introduced by the Duke of Devonshire which gave greater powers, to the Commission than were conveyed when the Bill left this House. From an administrative and educational point of view this Amendment was of great importance, and he thought that the Commission should be asked to undertake the additional duties cast upon them for the sake of relieving the heavy burden thrown upon the Board of Education in the Bill as it left the House of Commons. There were other Amendments which ought to receive consideration which aimed at removing legal difficulties. The Bill when it left this House made no provision for new schools under Clauses 3 and 4. These were the sections under which alone denominational education could be given, and he failed to find in the Bill, as it left the House, any provision for the transfer of new schools to the local authority under Clauses3 and 4. It seemed to him that to carry out the bilateral system to which the President of the Board of Education had referred there should be some provisions in the Bill which would enact that the new schools to be erected should enjoy facilities under Clauses 3 and 4. It was a hard case that if any one desired to leave a legacy for the purpose of erecting a new schoolhouse in any particular town, that the children should not enjoy the facilities for special religious instruction such as were provided for under the Bill.


said that Clause 6 which the Lords had struck out gave the local education authority power to make arrangement in such cases. He did not say it could be enforced upon the local authority, but they had power to give an extension of facilities which would apply to such a case.


thought that under those circumstances the Amendments of the Lords in Sub-clause 7 (a) did not enforce any different principle from that to which the Minister for Education had referred and was one of those Amendments which might have been accepted on its own merits. He had no desire to detain the House any longer, but he would say that he was most desirous that some settlement of this difficult question should be arrived at, because he felt that it blocked the way to those important improvements in our system of education which were very much needed.

MR. HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)

said he had attended on many occasions the debates in this House, but he thought that this was the most interesting and he was sure that it was the most important to which he had ever listened. He could not help feeling that the dominant note in the proceedings was a desire to arrive at a settlement. Speaking for himself and for those with whom he generally acted in that House he fully associated himself with that desire. He wanted also to associate himself with what had been said with reference to the very able manner in which the President of the Board of Education had conducted the Bill, and especially to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman and the country on the speech which he made on Monday last. He was absolutely certain that the right hon. Gentleman's one desire in piloting this Bill through Parliament was to improve education, as such, in this country. With regard to the Bill itself it was not a perfect measure, but he looked upon it, as it left this House at all events as containing the possibility of bringing about in time a final settlement of the controversy. He would just in a sentence or two emphasise the special position of Wales under the Bill. There were thirty-four out of thirty-four Members from Wales in favour of the principles of the Bill. He was not going to reiterate that as a mere boast, but he did ask the House of Commons to realise what that meant and the deep concern felt in Wales as to what was going on in regard to this Bill. The great majority of the Welsh electorate were strongly in favour of the Bill as it left this House, and whatever feeling of dissatisfaction might be entertained with regard to the possible endangering of the Bill by the action of the House of Lords that feeling was more deeply rooted in the minds of the people in the Principality than in any other portion of the kingdom. There was another question connected with the Bill which had its special interest to the people of Wales, and he should like to emphasise it. Part 4 of the Bill was designed to set up an Education Council for Wales, and he hoped that it might be possible to bring about some arrangement which would meet the widespread desires of the people of Wales to have granted to them educational autonomy. He recognised in these clauses the possibility of their arriving at such autonomy in time to come, and he need not say that the people of Wales were watching the movements in this and the other House in regard to that which was to them the most important part of the Bill. They desired a settlement of the question. They desired it in the first place on educational grounds, and, in the second place, in regard to administrative details; and speaking for those whom he represented and associating himself with the views which had been expressed with regard to the essential importance of maintaining religious instruction as far as possible throughout the country, they in Wales felt that the deep convictions of the Welsh people in religious matters should be echoed, expressed, and represented in the atmosphere of their schools. They did not want compulsion in this matter, but they wished to make it clear that the deep rooted desire of the people in the Principality was that the schools of the country should represent the religious convictions of the people. He had only to add in relation to the constitutional issue that he did not think from the tone of the debate it was going in connection with this Bill to be the crucial point. Prom what he could understand of this debate, the educational issue overshadowed the constitutional issue, and he believed that his interpretation of the feeling of the House on this point was the true one. He heartily supported the attitude which the Government had taken up in their treatment of the present situation, and he could only express his sincere hope that the result of what had been done would be to bring about some readjustment with regard to the three or four points upon which concessions were now possible in such a way as to save the Bill and to enable the nation to take a step in advance along the road of efficient elementary education.

LORD BALCARRES (Lancashire, Chorley)

said he also was sincerely anxious for a settlement of this question but not on the terms laid down by the Government. The Minister for Education had adumbrated certain alterations which he was prepared to accept relating to the majority under Clause 4, the distinction between rural and urban areas, and the question of parents' committees. What security was there that these alterations would carry out the spirit in which they were offered? If the right hon. Gentleman had these Amendments to the Lords' Amendments drafted, which he very much doubted, why did he not put them upon the Paper in order that they might know precisely what was in the mind of the Government? If concessions were to be made, they ought to know what those concessions were in precise form, and not be asked to trust to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, which, with all respect, was not wholly clear or explicit. They had had explicit and clear pledges in the past in one way or another, through action direct and indirect of parties, and through difficulties in drafting those pledges had not been carried out. The most striking illustration of that was Clause 4 as it left this House. The right hon. Gentleman said that under that clause the facilities must be real and not a sham. They were told that under the new circumstances when certain conditions were fulfilled religious instruction under Clause 4 would go on in the schools as at present. But under the clause as it left this House the conditions with regard to the denominational teaching in these schools were so onerous that the clause was a fraud, a delusion, and a sham. Before the children of Church of England parents could in the future get the teaching that they had to-day, fifteen processes had to be gone through. Not only were the conditions of the clause so stringent, so numerous, and so serious that the very schools for which this clause was designed would find themselves unable to secure the facilities, but the clause itself was full of inconsistencies. The population of 5,000 was indefensible. Why in a town of 5,000 inhabitants should the children receive one kind of education, and the children of a town of 4,800 inhabitants be treated in quite a different manner? The thing was absurd. The five days in a town and the two days in the country was also indefensible. Then again the teacher in a town might give, and the teacher in the country was forbidden to give, religious instruction. In the town if the teacher was forbidden to give this instruction there would be an opportunity to secure a substitute less or more qualified to take his place, but in the country the question was far more serious, because there it would be most difficult to secure any volunteers. So far as Clause 4 was concerned it was illogical, and inconsistent with the pledges which in all sincerity and good faith had been given. Hon. Members on the Ministerial side of the House, whatever their denomination, had always expressed themselves as anxious to meet the claims of the Roman Catholics. The case of the Roman Catholics was fairly succinct and definite, and the phrase usually employed was that they wished to preserve the atmosphere of the schools. The one condition precedent to preserving the atmosphere of the Roman Catholic schools was that Roman Catholic teachers should be employed. That was their case. No tests for teachers, according to the Government, was one of the cardinal points of the Bill. He did not know why it should have been said on the previous Monday that it was easier to ask for than to secure. Hon. Members said on the platform that it was a delicate matter, but in Lancashire there was no difficulty in denouncing tests in any and every form and in saying that no tests direct or indirect should be allowed. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would explain also why both he and his colleagues had promised to take up the question of the parents' committees. Did the right hon. Gentleman suppose that the hon. Member who spoke for a large section of the Roman Catholic opinion of this country put down the Amendment which appeared on the Paper yesterday in order that the parents' committees should control the structures or arithmetic? No. That Amendment was put down for the purpose, if it were accepted, of giving these committees the control over the selection of the teachers. He himself would support that Amendment with pleasure. There was to be no test technically, but an opportunity would be given to a body, over which there would be no power under this clause, to put direct religious tests to teachers. How was that consistent with the pledges given by the right-on. Gentleman and his friends? They desired now to make concessions, but they had taken the least conciliatory and least business-like way to obtain their desire. Nobody knew what the concessions were, and if the Government really desired to take a conciliatory line they would have done well not to have proposed to return the Amendments en bloc, but to have put their Amendments on the Paper, if indeed they were drafted, so that the House could judge for themselves what the Government desired. It was obvious that those Amendments were not drafted; they were not even prepared. The right hon. Gentleman had adopted this unbusiness like method of destroying the Bill, which was, he imagined, what the Government desired.

CAPTAIN KINCAID SMITH (Warwickshire, Stratford-upon-Avon)

congratulated the Government on their action in moving the rejection of the Lords' Amendments and at the same time suggesting that if the House of Lords would abandon those Amendments which were outside the four corners of the Bill the Government would be prepared to consider suggestions as to Amendments which were within its purview. To his mind the fact that the Bill did not altogether satisfy Roman Catholics, Churchmen, or Dissenters was a proof that it was a good compromise. He and many others wished to hold the balance even between all the denominations. The Liberal Party had been accused of wishing to destroy Church teaching; that was entirely untrue. What they wished was to substitute public for private control of voluntary schools, and that the one man control which existed up to1902, and, he believed, in some country districts even now, should continue no longer. An hon. Member who spoke yesterday deplored that after thirty years of controversy the Churches in England had not been able to arrange some fundamental basis of religious teaching for the children. Surely that was rather a proof that the controversy had not been as to the religious teaching to be given, but rather as to who should give the teaching and who should have control of the school. What they wanted to do was to meet the wishes of the parents. For a month during the autumn he went round his constituency trying to find out what the parents did want, and he came to the conclusion that they did not care very much what the religious instruction was that was given to their children, but that they wanted some sort of religious teaching to be given, and also that this religious controversy should cease. He supported Clause 4 because he considered it to be a good clause. He looked upon it not as a concession to the Roman Catholics, but as a concession to all those schools where there was an overwhelming majority Of the parents who desired some denominational teaching. Where there was that overwhelming majority he wished the concession to be looked upon as one to all the denominations which could possibly benefit by it. He bowed to the experts who said that the provision of facilities all round was impossible, although he thought that was the logical solution, and believed that in Alsace-Lorraine it had worked smoothly and with satisfaction. If the Bill were dropped the result would be an enormous reinforcement of those who favoured the secular solution, and surely that was a sufficient reason why hon. Members opposite should try to influence the Lords to make concessions so as to pass the Bill in some form or another into law.

MR. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil)

said he rose to take part in this discussion for two reasons. The first reason was that the House was discussing what was essentially a working-class question, for the children of the working-class must go to elementary schools, and therefore they as Labour Members had more than a passing interest init. His second reason was that working-class opinion had been clearly expressed upon the subject—a fact which was apt to be overlooked. The Trade Union Congress which spoke for well nigh 2,000,000 of the working-classes, and was the mouthpiece of organised labour in this country, had on several occasions discussed this education question. A decision of the Trade Union Congress was different from a decision in the election of a Member at a Parliamentary election. A dozen questions influenced the voters at a Parliamentary election; but at the Trade Union Congress the decision taken on this matter was in the nature of a Referendum vote, as it was voted upon as a separate and distinct issue. Four times in succession that congress had declared, with practical unanimity, for a national system of education under full popular control, free and secular, from the primary school to the University. The great majority of the members of the congress were men like himself of the Christian faith; but they supported the secular solution because of the impossibility of finding a common denominator of the Christian religion which all could accept. In this respect the Trade Union Congress did not stand alone. The great Congregational denomination of North Wales, by a practically unanimous vote, and in face of the opposition of the President of the Board of Trade, declared in favour of secular instruction as the only solution of the difficulty. He could understand those who supported a State Church desiring to see religious instruction given by State officials in our public schools, but he could not understand a Nonconformist who discarded the doctrine of a State Church supporting a much more dangerous and insidious form of State endowment by having religious instruction given in the public schools. Not only trade unionists demanded secular instruction, but a very large proportion especially the more intelligent section, of Nonconformists, together with a very large body of Church opinion, especially the High Church opinion. The Bill before the House was supposed to be a compromise, but it was a compromise which pleased nobody. The hon. and gallant Member who had just sat down regarded that as evidence of its success as a compromise. The Bill settled nothing and pleased nobody. It left the whole question where it was before, with this serious, indeed, fatal, difference—that it transferred the squabble—he would not dignify it by calling it the dispute—from the House of Commons to the local councils. The Government ought to have taken its courage in both hands and been logical and accepted the secular solution. Nine-tenths of the time of the House which had been wasted over this question would then have been saved. There would have been one big fight, but that over the religious difficulty would have been got out of the way for all time. [An HON. MEMBER: One big defeat, you mean.] If hon. Members were prepared to tell their constituents that they would vote against their own Government if they attempted to solve the question on the basis of secular instruction it would be a strong declaration. It was one of the greatest fallacies to assume that parents cared the toss of a brass farthing concerning the religious instruction in the schools. It showed how completely out of touch were hon. Members with working-class opinion that an idea of that kind could prevail. When the priest or the parson took his congregation in hand and said "Are you in favour of this?" the answer would be "yes"; but the bulk of the working classes were indifferent on the subject of religious instruction, because they saw what little good had come to the country from the religious instruction of Church and chapel alike. But as the Government had not taken the logical course of establishing; secular education, and as there was to be religious instruction in the schools, the Party for whom he spoke and a good many hon. Gentlemen opposite were of opinion that Clause 4 should be made mandatory, so that no sense of unfairness should be aroused in the minds of any of the denominations. The recent municipal elections had shown the wisdom of.that course. If Clause 4 was to remain in the Bill as an optional clause, then at every municipal election, sanitation, good government, and everything else would be made subordinate to the strife of sects for domination on the council. It was only by making Clause 4 mandatory that it would be workable at all without inflicting serious injury upon local institutions up and down the country. The question of religious tests for teachers was also bound up in Clause 4. As long as the teacher was allowed to give religious instruction there was bound to be a test imposed; and a religious test in a branch of the Civil Service was an abuse and an anomaly which this house ought not to countenance. But if they were to have denominational schools they must face the logical conclusion that they must also permit denominational teaching, and for these reasons—he was speaking for himself—he preferred the Lords' Amendments in respect of the teaching of religious instruction under Clause 4. He repeated, however, that the logical solution was to abolish the religious instruction altogether, and thus remove this and other anomalies from the Bill. There was one Amendment of the Lords to which very serious attention required to be called. The clause dealing with bursaries had been deleted. The clause enabled an education authority to aid by scholarships or bursaries the instruction in elementary schools of scholars from the age of twelve up to the limit fixed by the Act. For the life of him he could not find any explanation of this except that the Members of the other House were afraid that if bursaries were permitted there might be keen competition between the clever children of the working classes and the privileged children of other classes. He trusted that whatever else might have to go the Government would stand firm for the reinsertion of this clause. The question now being raised might easily develop into a much greater issue than the religous difficulty in an Education Bill. He was not in a hurry to have a conflict precipitated between the two Houses, because such a grave constitutional crisis would absorb all the energy and attention of the country, and social reform would go by the board. If, however, the Constitution was to be put into the melting pot he hoped the Government would try to be logical in seeking a solution. But any attempt to compromise a question as to which House should be supreme would be fatal to any Party that proposed it. The Labour Party would support the Government in rejecting those Amendments en bloc. They reserved to themselves a free hand as to their course of action should the Bill return to this House. They had acquiesced in the Bill as a compromise, but, if the compromise were rejected, and the whole question re-opened, then they would insist that there should be a fight to a finish, and that from the schools should be eliminated anything which by any stretch of the imagination could be called sectarianism or sectarian instruction.

*Mr. SOARES ( Devonshire, Barnstaple)

said he quite agreed with what the hon. Member for Merthyr had said with regard to what would happen if this Bill were rejected, namely, that it would give a great impetus to the advocates of purely secular education throughout the country, and speaking for himself, that was one of the reasons why he sincerely hoped that a compromise might yet be arrived at. Not that he agreed with the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken with regard to fighting the House of Lords on this or any other question. He was quite sure that if an appeal were made to the country as to the House of Lords there could be only one answer to it. At the same time he hoped a solution would be found with regard to the Education Bill, in the interests of education, and the undesirability of constantly bandying, about religious questions on a political platform. The solution, however, must be in proper terms. They could not have peace at any price. They must, have peace with honour. They could not forget they had had a long and strenuous fight on this question, and that at the election every candidate made the education question a plank in his platform. The two main principles they had set before the electors were popular control and no tests for teachers, and he thought himself they were bound to insist on those two principles. If they did not they would be false to their principles, false to the electors, and, what was still more important, false to themselves. He admitted that there was a concession under Clause 4, and that so far as that clause was concerned tests for teachers were introduced in a qualified manner. But he was prepared to defend that clause as part of a great compromise. As for popular control, they knew that the Minister for Education would stand firm as a rock for that principle, and that no one would be asked to depart one jot or tittle from the pledges given to the electors. As for tests for teachers, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham had said he was opposed to them, and it was admitted in the House of Lords that the election gave them a mandate to abolish tests. Members on the Opposition side gave lip service to the principle of no tests, but on the Liberal side they were in earnest about it, and they could not go further in allowing tests than had been done under Clause 4. In schools under Clause 3 it was absolutely impossible that teachers should be allowed to volunteer for denominational teaching. If they assented to that it would mean tests for teachers, and he for himself did not see his way to yield on that point. The Minister for Education had been frank and generous from the beginning. He had laid his cards on the Table and had also put up his enormous stake, amounting to £1,000,000 a year, which was sufficient to provide places in council schools for 80,000 children every year. And what had happened? His opponents had seized the stake and now they were trying to steal the cards. The right hon. Gentleman was now asking the House for a new deal: he would get it and he would yet win the rubber if he kept a stern front to his opponents and relied on his supporters and partners. They would back the Minister for Education so long as any Amendments to which he agreed were in accord with the pledges given at the time of the election, but he was not prepared to make any concessions at all except in regard to Clause 4. He trusted the Minister for Education would adhere to the speeches he had made from time to time with regard to such concessions, and that they would have no further giving way to the other House.

MR. SEAVERNS (Lambeth, Brixton)

expressed his deep gratification at the course which the Government had followed in dealing with the Lords' Amendments. A good deal had been said in the debate as to precedent, and on that point, being a new Member of the House, he expressed no opinion, but he held that in the circumstances of the case as they existed to-day, the Government had adopted the only practical and common sense course which was open to them. The House of Lords' Amendments had not only emasculated the Bill, but they appeared to have changed the sex of the measure entirely. The Leader of the Opposition stated yesterday that if these Amendments had been taken seriatim, four days would have been sufficient for their adequate consideration. He could only say that unless the right hon. Gentleman could curb the volubility of his supporters more than in the summer session, not merely four days, but four months would have been required. The prospect of taking up the Amendments seriatim and of the enormous loss of public time which that would have involved, made such a course absolutely intolerable, and one which could not be endured by Members. If that was the position in regard to this House, it was still more true of the people of the country. He believed they were absolutely sick and tired to death of these interminable religious and theological controversies. He believed that the parents of the children for whom so much solicitude was shown by the Members of the Opposition to-day, although very little was shown in 1902, wanted education for their children rather than this, that, or the other particular dogma inculcated in the interest of this, that, or the other particular church. He believed that they looked to the Liberal Party to see that the education of their children was no longer made the battle ground of contending divines, whether they were Churchmen or Nonconformists. He approached this subject not entirely, or even mainly, from the Nonconformist standpoint. He had never asked as a Nonconformist that there should be extended by the operation of any Education Act to Nonconformists any advantages which were not extended to the members and the children of any other faith. He regarded it as one of the great curiosities of this debate that such a proposition as was enunciated yesterday by the Leader of the Opposition should be put forward—the proposition that Cowper-Temple teaching was the teaching of Nonconformity pure and simple. That to his mind was an extraordinary and a unique feature of this controversy. It was a proposition which so far as he knew had not a shred of foundation in fact. The standpoint from which he approached the question was that of a practical man with some commercial experience not only in this country but in others. He realised that we in this country were suffering from the stress and strain of enormous foreign competition, and he believed most sincerely that the one means of successfully meeting that competition was the establishment in this country of a complete system of national education—a system which would attract the best intellects of the country to the teaching profession, and provide for the children of the country an education not inferior to, and if possible better than, the education provided for the children of, our commercial rivals. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil had referred to the secular solution of the question. The hon. Member had taken great pains to prove that that solution was logical, and he accepted that view absolutely. It was not only a strictly logical solution, but it was the only practicable and logical solution of the question. But he felt that in this matter the logical solution was not always the best, and therefore he welcomed the scheme of the Minister for Education as being better than a merely logical solution. He believed that an enormous majority of the I parents were not only satisfied, but infinitely preferred, simple instruction in the fundamentals of the Protestant Christian faith to any inculcation of the dogmas of particular churches. While exceptions might rightly be demanded by those outside the scope of the Protestant churches, he maintained that, apart from those exceptions, parents were well satisfied with the system. Some advantage might be gained by looking across the Atlantic to the experience of many millions of people in the United States. The experience of that country had been put forward as an argument for secular instruction. He had never been able quite to understand why that position had been taken. He himself as a child was educated in one of those schools, and the religious instruction given then was that which was given to-day, and it was more similar to the Cowper-Temple instruction in this country than any purely secular instruction. Advantage might be gained from scrutinising the experience of a country which was allied to this by ties of blood and language, whose educational system had been an exceptional system, and whose people were not less keen in their religious instincts and enthusiasm than the people of this country. The fate of the Education Bill hung in the balance. It might be secretly locked in the breast of the Ministry, but it was not known to the House. If the Bill was lost, grave issues, far more important than education itself would arise out of the contest. There would arise the issue whether the people of the country were to manage their own affairs, or whether their just and legitimate demands were to be frustrated by a Chamber which was the complacent tool of one Party in this House and the inveterate foe of another. If that issue were presented to the people the result would not be in doubt.


thought that everyone who had listened would agree that the tone and temper of the debate had done great credit to the House of Commons. He himself was very desirous that there-should be a settlement of this difficult and perplexing question. An hon. Member opposite had said that what they wanted was a settlement which would constitute peace with honour. There would be no settlement unless peace was established in all the schools in the country. He believed that the Government had a golden opportunity of securing peace with honour by making reasonable concessions to different sections of the people. His noble friend the Member for East Marylebone had said there was no guarantee that if the House of Lords introduced the desired Amendments they would be accepted when the Bill came back to this House. In such a case a very serious issue would be raised, and he thought some assurance on the point should be given by the Government. He believed that if the Government would only accept such Amendments as they could recommend to the country, they could carry the Bill into law. There were two important compromises which hon. Members opposite had been endeavouring to influence the Minister of Education not to accept, and which were necessary to a settlement of the question. One of these concessions was to be found in the first clause, under which religious instruction was to be given in all the provided and non-provided schools in the country. There were hon. Gentlemen opposite who had contested that proposition, but he had not heard a solitary argument to show why such instruction should not become part of our educational system. The only argument brought forward against the proposition by the hon. Member for North Camberwell was that the thing could not be done, and his reason for stating that was that the education committees would resent the duty thus thrown upon them. That was a very weak argument to be laid before the House of Commons, because they were constantly passing measures enforcing on local authorities various duties and, so far from creating dissatisfaction, controversy ceased when the provisions of an Act were made mandatory. Local authorities were wise in their generation, and generally recognised that their duty was loyally to carry out the law. This was a vital question, and he believed that it was the duty of the State to see that the religious instruction was given in every State school in the country; and if the Government were to adopt the Amendment, they would find that the Bill would be far more acceptable, even on their own side of the House, than at present. An hon. Member had said that there would not be any education committees in the future that would not give religious instruction; at the present time practically all the committees had adopted a syllabus for religious instruction, and therefore it must be their desire that this Amendment to Clause 1 should be accepted. It was said that Clause 3, as amended by the Lords should not receive the assent of the House. He observed that the hon. Member for North Camberwell treated this question very tenderly. Why should not the privilege be extended to Church of England schools in villages which it was proposed to give under Clause 4 to schools in other towns and villages? All the single area schools would not have the same fair treatment. He was not pleading either for Nonconformity or for the Church of England; he was only desirous that justice should be done to every section of the people. Under the Bill they were going to take in the villages the Church of England schools which had been maintained by the Church and been their property for generations, and impose on those schools a religion which was called by some people the Nonconformist religion, but which Nonconformists themselves did not consider sufficient for their own children. If in the single area schools the teachers were not to be allowed to give religious instruction even if the local authority were agreeable, a great wrong and injury would be done, which he did not believe the House of Commons was really capable of performing. Why should his Nonconformist friends be so afraid of the teacher when he became a servant of and was amenable to the local education authority? His contention was that in the single area schools the Bill of the Government unamended would, while remedying a Nonconformist grievance, create another and greater grievance. He supposed that no one would deny that in some villages a very large majority of the people were Churchmen, and in others, a large minority were Churchmen, and an injury would be done to these people who had created the schools, and spent millions on them, by denying to them the right to have religious instruction given to their children. On the grounds of equity and common justice, he therefore maintained that the teacher ought to be allowed to give the religious teaching in these schools, if instructed to do so by the local education authority. The Government were going to allow the teachers in all council schools to give religious instruction. On what lines of justice could they refuse to allow it under Clause 3? If that was refused would it not leave a rankling sore? Would there not be another religious grievance to be brought up on every platform by his Unionist friends and probably by himself? The Government had a golden opportunity of coming to a just and fair compromise, and he trusted that they would not be influenced by the extreme men on either side of the House, but that they would try to meet every interest in the country so that this burning question might be settled.

*MR. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS (Carmarthen District)

said the hon. Member for Great Grim by had spoken of some of his friends as extremists and of himself us a moderate man who spoke in the interest of no Party, and his moderate view was that unless the Government were prepared to accept the Lords' Amendments to Clause 1 and Clause 3, the Bill had no chance of passing. All he could say was—and he thought he was speaking in this matter for all his colleagues in Wales—that if these were the only terms on which a compromise could be effected, a compromise was impossible. If on the other hand the suggestions made by the Minister for Education on Monday were accepted, though many on his side of the House thought that the Government would be going very far indeed, still, in order to come to a settlement, they were willing to sink once more their own views and opinions in the matter in order to meet in a fair and reasonable way the views of hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House. But he had risen chiefly to call attention to the elimination of Part IV. of the Bill, which gave a National Council to Wales with power to arrange educational matters in the Principality. Forty years ago there was hardly any public education in Wales, but in the course of one generation the Welsh people had established and developed a national system of education. There were now over 500,000 children in the elementary schools, there was a complete system of technical education, and there were three University Colleges. It was recognised that some such reform as was suggested in Part IV. had become necessary, the principle of which had been accepted by the predecessor of the President of the Board of Education; his proposal did not go so far as the proposal in the Bill, but the principle of allowing the Welsh councils to determine local matters was endorsed by the hon. baronet. To carry out that policy there was a conference attended by representatives of all the Welsh counties from Anglesey to Monmouth, and but for the accident that one council differed from the rest on a point of detail there would have been no necessity for Part IV. in the Bill. Part IV. had been passed through the House of Commons by a larger majority than was accorded to almost any portion of the Bill. But what had been the fate of this provision, which was in principle approved by the late Government, which was unanimously commended by National Conferences in Wales, and which had been passed by an overwhelming majority in Committee? It was summarily rejected by the House of Lords. Lord Cawdor, who moved the rejection of that part of the Bill, had no connection with Welsh education or claim to represent Welsh opinion. Lord Cawdor had never lifted a finger to help the people of Wales in their educational efforts. The Bishop of St. David's voted for the principle of an educational council for Wales, but in the House of Lords he rejected Part IV. Every other part of the Bill was amended. Why did the Bishop of St. David's reject in the House of Lords a project which had received his blessing as late as March last at the Cardiff Conference? Surely his right course would have been not to vote against the whole clause, but so to amend it as to bring it into accord with the principle of which he approved. He did nothing of the sort. This part of the Bill was rejected after a very short debate in which Lord Cawdor said the proposal was a part of a scheme for promoting Home Rule for Wales. It was nothing of the sort; it was merely a small measure of reform in educational machinery. He hoped if the right hon. Gentleman found it impossible to secure the passing of this Bill with Part IV. in it, at all events he would see that the principle that they admitted was a right principle should be carried out by an administrative Act which would not require the sanction of the House of Lords. If the Government said it was impossible to get Part IV. through this House and the other House they could, at all events, assist Wales by establishing a subordinate branch of the Board of Education in Wales with permanent officials to deal with Welsh education. If that were done he did not much care what became of Part IV. All he was anxious for was that the separate and distinct case of Wales should be recognised in some tangible form by the Government. If that were done he cared not very much what became of the Bill at all. He was one of the few men who voted for the secular Amendment, and he believed the discussions on the Bill had tended to mature public opinion in favour of that solution. However that might be, he was perfectly willing, if it was possible to secure this concession to Wales, to say that though he disagreed with Clause 4 as it stood, and though he disagreed still more with other concessions which had been mentioned on that side, yet in order to secure a settlement of the question he was prepared loyally to support the Government.

MR. WALTER LONG (Dublin, S.)

asked what the House was to think of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down who, if he understood his speech aright, was prepared to support a Bill about which he did not care anything if the Government promised to do what he wanted for Wales. He did not think the Government were to be congratulated on the quality of the support which had been given them by the hon. Gentleman. Anybody who had listened to this debate must have come to the conclusion that the Government themselves must now be regretful regarding the course they had adopted with respect to the consideration of the Lords' Amendments. What was the position in which the House found itself in the novel circumstances produced by the action of the Government? They were met to discuss the Amendments of a great Bill which had come down from the House of Lords. Those Amendments had found supporters on the Opposition side of the House and faint indications of support in certain quarters on the other side. If the ordinary course had been adopted of discussing those Amendments seriatim, they would to-night have known what was the view taken in regard to them by the Members on both sides of the House, and they would have had some indication of the direction from which, a compromise might proceed. It was a remarkable fact. that the actual Motion which they were discussing was moved formally by the Secretary to the Board of Education, who did not even favour the House with a speech on the subject, although the debate had gone on since the previous day, and speeches of all kinds had been made from all quarters of the House. Now, at the last moment, when they were approaching the completion of these debates, they had not received the smallest indication from the Government of what were the lines on which the so-called compromise might proceed. Rather late in the day they had had some advocates of compromise on the other side of the House. It had been interesting to observe that while the cheers that had greeted the denunciations of the Lords or attacks upon the denominational system had been general on that side, those who had spoken strongly in advocacy of compromise had found only limited support. It was still more remarkable that not only had the cheers not been numerous which had attended the suggestions of compromise, but that nobody had yet made a practical proposal as to the form, the compromise should take. They had had indications in the speech of the President of the Board of Education, but he did not think the right hon. Gentleman would be prepared to argue that they were more than vague and indefinite suggestions. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had denounced the Lords for adopting Amendments which departed from the spirit and principle of the Bill, but he did not in any way define what had been the mischief done by the Lords, and did not make a definite attack on any particular Amendment. Surely, if the Government had really meant that they should approach the consideration of these Amendments with a view to deciding what could be adopted and what must be on their initiative rejected, they would not only have put before the House definite and clear proposals, but they would have put them in the Bill and sent the Bill in its amended form back to the House of Lords for them to reject or consider as they thought fit. He did not know how far the Government shared the view of some of their supporters that compromise upon this question was desirable. Whatever their views on the point might be they had taken the very worst step in order to arrive at such an end. Remarkable speeches had been made by the hon. Member for North Camberwell and the hon. Member for Northampton. Both had applied themselves to actual educational difficulties, and had spoken with the utmost moderation and an evidently sincere desire that they should arrive at a compromise. But was it decent, was it quite honest to the House, that suggestions of that kind should find their only practical form in the speeches of private Members, and not in the speeches of members of the Government who alone were responsible for the measure and who alone could effect a compromise if they desired it? The best course to secure a compromise would have been for the Government to put their proposals on the Paper. They would then have been in a position to ask the Lords to give their answer to the suggestions. What had been the result of this new and extraordinary policy on the part of the Government? They had had considerable debate in which he believed more supporters of the Government had spoken than Members of his side of the House. He did not mention it as any reproach it had been the natural result which had followed from the vague and indefinite position in which the House had found itself in regard to these Amendments. Hon. Gentlemen had spoken from the other side of the House, and what had they advocated? They had had more than one speech which was really in support, not of what was called the Government Bill, but a Bill which would have for its object the actual destruction of denominational schools. That was a practical issue, and if the Government had taken that line at all events they would have been in a logical position; but they were unwilling to do that. They adopted a Bill which they told their Nonconformist supporters would abolish denominational schools, and the next moment they told others that in a large number of cases it would preserve the existing state of things. Some hon. Members; including the hon. Member for North Camberwell, frankly accepted Clause 4 as an exception to what they regarded as an undenominational Bill. What had been the policy of the House of Lords in regard to Clause 4? In Committee in the Commons the hon. Member for North Camberwell had been one of the strongest advocates of making the provisions of Clause 4 mandatory. It was with amazement they had listened to the Minister for Education when he told the House of Commons that the local authorities were not so likely to carry out those duties if they were thrust upon them as if they were left to their own free will. The vast majority of duties which local authorities were called upon to perform were obligatory, and if the local authorities failed to take action Parliament had placed stringent remedies in the hands of the ratepayers. If there was to be such a clause as Clause 4, which was an exception to the general principle of the Bill, and was to provide for denominational schools, then Parliament was bound in honour to the local authorities to give effect to the principle thus expressed by making the clause mandatory, otherwise difficulties and controversies would arise that would overshadow all the other work of the local authorities. In its original form the Bill would have done permanent harm to the local government of the country. The hon. Member for Barnstaple held quite a different view, for he protested against Clause 4 and also against tests for teachers, declaring that they affected the bed-rock of the principles of his Party from which there could be no departure.


said he accepted Clause 4 as an exception to the Bill.


said he understood the hon. Member to say definitely that enabling the teachers to give religious instruction, if they so wished, revived the question of tests for teachers, that such tests contravened a fundamental principle of the policy of his Party at the last election, and that they regarded it as vital to the Bill now. What did it all turn upon? Under the clause as it stood in the original Bill teachers would have been compelled to teach that which they might not be willing to teach. He thought the teachers were well able to hold their own. What the Lords had done did not involve the imposition of tests as generally understood, but merely what they contended was a simple act of justice—giving to the teachers the right to teach as they had taught before. Attacks had been made upon the House of Lords, and many speakers had admitted that they resented the right of the Lords to interfere at all. They had had speeches on various aspects of the question and speeches advocating compromise but there had been no clear attack on the action of the Lords in regard to individual Amendments. The general result of those Amendments, he ventured to say, was one which ought to have secured for the Bill as it had come down to them, he would not say a friendly reception, but at all events a very different one from that which it had experienced. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had advocated compromise on the ground that the Bill did many good things in regard to the general condition of the schools. But surely it could not be denied that the Bill in its present form did many things which hon. Gentlemen opposite had always advocated, and which they had contended would mean a vast alteration in our educational system? It put simple religious teaching within the reach of all. It put an end for ever to payment out of the rates for denominational teaching, and it put an end to the control of managers or trustees in regard to transferred schools. Surely those were things which, if they stood alone, ought to have merited a rather better reception for the Bill than it had received. They did not know what was the result that His Majesty's Government really desired to achieve. Did they desire to initiate an attack on the other House upon this particular ground? If they did, he would suggest that they should take particular notice of the speech of the hon. and learned Member for North Louth. The Government would, at all events, not succeed in casting upon the other House, or upon the supporters and upholders of the views they had put forward from those benches, the responsibility and the onus of deciding the fate of this measure. That responsibility must rest with the Government and the Government alone. He had no right to express even an opinion as to whether a compromise upon the various points raised was possible or not, but if a compromise was really desired, and if it were possible to arrive at one, the action of the Government had done more than anything else to make compromise impossible.


The House will believe that it is with a deep sense of reluctance and also with a profound sense of compassion for my audience that I rise once more to inflict a speech, happily not long, on their attention. We have had during these debates some vigorous, one humorous, and some rather half-hearted attempts to inflame the passion of noble Lords in another place by trying to induce them to believe that in some way or other they are insulted by the action of this House. Well, I think noble Lords in another place will be the guardians of their own honour, and will not require to be stirred into angry passions by the advice tendered to them by Gentlemen opposite. The noble Lord the Member for Marylebone spoke of the course we have taken as the maximum of insult and the minimum of effective discussion in this House; the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down also used some rather strong language on the same subject, and the Leader of the Opposition described the course which we have taken as insulting and offensive, and proceeded to say he did not suppose that the fact that it was insulting and offensive was any reason why it should be less distasteful to us. All I can say is, if I had ever said anything one-fiftieth part so uncivil as that, the right hon. Gentleman would have lectured me for a lapse of taste. I do not mind being lectured by the right hon. Gentleman for a lapse of taste, because I am quite willing to admit that I attach considerable importance to his opinion as an arbiter elegantiarum, and I am always willing to learn from anybody being most anxious to avoid as far as ever I can lapses of taste. But I do think we are entitled in this House to reciprocity in civility; and to allege as against his Majesty's Government that we should be all the better pleased if the course we took was wholly insulting and offensive was, I think, if I may say so, making no pretence to be an arbiter eleganliarum, a lapse of taste on the part of the right hon. Gentleman. We had a humorous speech from the hon. and learned Member for North Louth, who has played many parts in this House. But I do not think he ever played an odder part than to appear as coach or trainer to the House of Lords, in order to instruct that body how to behave when they were insulted by this House. He reminded me most pleasantly of my life at the University, when one's college boat used to be coached from the banks by a gentleman who ran by its side and shouted out to each individual member of the crew some particular fault. The hon. and learned Member seemed to be urging Lord Lansdowne to get more forward, Lord Cawdor not to splash, and Lord Salisbury to remember that it was desirable to keep in time. I can really assure hon. Gentlemen opposite that the Government have no desire whatever in this matter to be offensive or insulting, and I do not think that any reasonable person can allege that the course we took was either the one or the other. It was within the right of the Government, and in accordance with precedent, that we should state at the beginning of the debate what course we proposed to take with regard to each one of their Lordships' Amendments. That was the course which Mr. Gladstone pursued when the Irish Church Bill came down from the other House; he ran through all the Amendments one by one stating which of them he disagreed with—the greatmajority—the one or two that he accepted, and one or two he thought might be accepted with some modifications. But in this case, the Government came to the conclusion that it was their duty to reject them all. I do not know that the House of Lords would have found their situation any better if, after the resolutions had been gone through seriatim, we got up at the end of each Amendment and stated that we rejected it. The result would be exactly the same. The rejection of all the Amendments in- dividually is, after all, just the same thing as a general denial of the Amendments as a whole. At all events I cannot conceive that any assembly who wished to complain of disrespectful treatment would find much difference between the one course and the other. During the course of the debate I confess I have often asked myself what line it would have taken if, after a general statement of the intention of the Government to oppose each one of their Lordships' Amendments.—[An Hon. Member: Including the Government ones?]—we had proposed to treat them seriatim. I had never any objection to treating them seriatim; the Minister in charge of a Bill—I think it is a rule almost without exception—is always in favour of pursuing the ordinary course. I have never found the Minister in charge of a Bill in favour of guillotine by compartments. He is always desirous, naturally enough, to keep down the temperature of Gentlemen opposite with whom he has to live days and weeks in contest, and he never has any desire whatever to make them more than necessarily angry. The champion of the Bill after a bit gets accustomed to it, and to believe in it and to become persuaded that there is no occasion for him to be frightened by the mighty prowess of hon. Gentlemen opposite him. Therefore I should not have regretted if the ordinary course had been adopted, and it had been possible for us to come to some arrangement whereby we should have considered the Amendments one by one. Certainly I have considered them one by one, and I should have had no difficulty in making out a case against them, at least to my own satisfaction. Consequently I am persuaded that we should have had just the same arguments, if arguments they could be called, whatever course the Government might have taken in the matter. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have had as much time as they wanted for the discussion of the Amendments. It is true that four days were suggested for the purpose, and the Government have no intention or desire of interfering in any way with those four days. Hon. Gentlemen opposite, I agree, have selected particular Amendments for their comments. Indeed the only thing, it seems to me, that we have been spared by the course which has been adopted is a number of divisions, in which no doubt the supporters of the Government would have displayed in the lobbies that loyalty which has characterised them all through these proceedings. I say again the Government had no intention whatever of being disrespectful to the House of Lords in adopting this course. After all, it was a wiser and better course then the other course of getting rid of the Amendments all at once by deciding to discuss them this day three months, which would have destroyed all possibility of a compromise. We have had a very interesting debate. The difficulty I find in dealing with it is that hon. Members opposite have put forward different solutions of a very difficult question, and solutions which have been ruled out of consideration both in this House and in the House of Lords. For example, there was a great deal of talk about the first Amendment to Clause 1. I confess that when it was moved I did not know quite what it meant. I thought first it was a desire on the part of the Lords to secure that every local authority should have a religious syllabus in accordance with the Cowper-Temple rule. But I noticed that the Amendment received the support of one or two Bishops who are most opposed to the idea of Cowper-Temple religion, as it is sometimes called; and, indeed, one of them assured me personally that when be voted for it he by no means considered he was voting for Cowper-Templeism. Then we have the interpretation put upon it by the noble Lord the Member for East Marylebone, who said that in every public elementary school religion ought to be taught. That was his major premise. His minor premise was that the children should be taught the religion which their parents selected, and the conclusion was that in every public elementary school every child should have the opportunity of being taught the religion of his parent. That is a logical position. I do not quarrel with it. Indeed, I admit there was a time when I entertained that opinion myself. What it amounts to is entry into all schools. As I have said, both before I became Education Minister, and for some considerable time after, I did hanker for a solution of that kind. It was only when I was brought into personal contact and argumentative collision with the people who are doing the educational work of this country that I found, very reluctantly, how impossible it is; and the final sense of that impossibility was driven home to my mind when I was present in the House of Lords and heard the question debated on the Amendment of Lord Balfour of Burleigh—a Scotsman—who argued in favour of facilities of entry all round. Anyone who has spent much time in public assemblies acquires the instinct of perceiving what is running through men's minds, and if ever the emotion of hostility was expressed it ran through the House of Lords that night, and it became so plainly manifest that Lord Lansdowne, who was willing to entertain the idea, found that opinion was entirely against him. To-night we have had a forcible and clear speech from, the hon. Member for Great Grimsby; the other night we had an equally clear and forcible speech from him in which he protested against the idea of bringing discord where peace has hitherto prevailed. "We have had peace in the county council school," said he; "you have had contention elsewhere; whatever you do, do not transplant your discord to our peaceful schools." What sort of reception would the Bill have had, in this House or in another place, if it had been founded on the notion that it is possible, practicable, expedient, and desirable to introduce into the schools religious teaching in accordance with the wishes of each individual parent? It must have been doomed to failure. The noble Lord thinks otherwise. Four years ago I should have shared his opinion I have since had to part company with him reluctantly, because of my experience of the general feeling of the country. This Amendment is often spoken of as if it were simply a desire to make all the council schools in the country have an undenominational religious syllabus, when everyone knows that the Amendment would really have introduced facilities all round in all the schools. ["No."] What other interpretation can be put upon the words? Some part of the day is to be set apart for religious instruction, which means religious instruction in accordance with the wishes of the parents. [Cries of "Not necessarily."] When the Bishop of Birmingham voted for that Amendment, he did not suppose that he was simply enforcing an essentially undenominational syllabus. If that were the meaning of the Amendment I should certainly agree that it was a most desirable thing to be accomplished, although I should have a lurking doubt whether good could possibly result from it, because if the authority did not wish to do it, how could I mandamus the authority on the insufficiency of religious instruction? If the clause is limited in the way now suggested, all I can say is that I have seen some very bad Amendments, and have moved many myself, but I never saw a worse clause than this, if all that it means is that undenominational religion on Cowper-Temple lines should be given in all council schools. The idea of facilities all round has passed away. That solution has for ever departed. [Cries of "No."] Yes. It was ruled out of consideration; by the House of Lords, and you cannot have your House of Lords both ways. Then we had another view presented about the right of the parent. Now it is monstrous to say that the State stands in loco parent is to children attending a day school, where he only goes five days a week from nine to four. It cannot be put so high as that. Attention has often been drawn in the country to the analogy of what is done in industrial schools and places of that sort, where owing to the default of the parent the children are taken away from the parent and are put into schools where they have no holidays, and where they live all the days of the week, and all the hours of the: day. In the cases of those children the State does recognise an obligation, It endeavours to find out what was the religion of the parent—a very melancholy inquiry, I am afraid, in many cases—and they do somehow find out, and they divide the children accordingly into Catholics and Protestants, and sometimes they make further distinctions. But there is no similarity between cases of that kind, where the State has assumed the whole responsibility for the child, and the ease of the ordinary child living at home. Because the State says to a father: "You have to send your child to a school where he shall be taught the three R.'s, and you shall have that education for nothing," can it be said that the father, therefore, should have the right to insist on his child being taught his own particular religion? Nobody looking back on his own life would claim that such religion as he may be fortunate enough to possess was derived from the rudimentary training he got in school. You may enter the Kingdom of Heaven without knowing the Kings of Israel. I am a strong advocate for religion having a place in the schools simply because there are a great number of people who do not care a snap of their fingers whether their children get any religious teaching at all either at school or elsewhere. It would be a great misfortune for these poor derelicts if they were to be left without any religious training. It is only reasonable to bear these things in mind when you are considering a question of this kind. It is the poor derelict children for whom I urge the necessity that provision should be made in the day school, with its humanising influence, and there is no justification in attempting to seize the opportunity to make them denominationalists. The opportunity should rather be taken to give them the chance of learning religious ideas and thoughts which will enable them as they grow older to develop if they please into denominationalists. I am speaking in the presence of the noble Lord, and I am not ashamed to say that you can be a Christian even though you do not belong to any denomination. Another subject is the case of the teachers. I wish to answer the fair question put to me by the hon. Member for Grimsby. He wanted to know how by any possibility we can justify the forbidding the teacher in the transferred school to teach religion. I do not want to press that case too far at the present moment, but I say that you must remember that the clause provides only for facilities to be given to those children whose parents desire it. Every one who knows as much about schools as the hon. Member does is aware that if you give to the regular teacher the opportunity of teaching you are not holding the balance evenly between the different sects and denominations. I do not think that any one who has any practical acquaintance with schools will doubt the statement that the children will follow the teacher. I do not think it does the child much harm to be taught the Catechism and the Prayer-book. You can survive that. But it is a question of justice between the various religious bodies, for whichever body gets the regular teacher turns the school into a denominational school. An interesting speech was made by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tyvil about secular education. The hon. Member pointed out with great truth that all these difficulties into which we are getting had swelled the ranks of those who demanded the secular solution. He himself is an adherent of the Christian faith. I am not surprised to hear it, because a Socialist without Christianity behind him will not, in my opinion, make much progress in this world. The hon. Member also gave the Liberal Party advice, and he told us that if we had taken our courage in both hands and had brought in a Bill based on the secular solution we should have achieved a great victory. If we had taken any such course we should have had a thorough good thrashing in this House. The hon. Member for East Mayo rather suggested that hon. Members opposite were anxious to drive the Liberal Party into the secular solution in order that when we dismounted from the good horse Religious Instruction, they should get on it themselves and clapping spurs to its sides gallop all over the country, hoisting even the flag of Cowper-Templeism. I am quite certain that a great number of the convinced supporters of the right hon. Gentleman opposite could take that course quite honestly and with great success, and the public-house keepers, especially at the time when they were frightened for their licences, would bellow for open Bibles. With reference to Clause 4 hon. Gentlemen opposite have referred to it again and again. Clause 4 we adhere to, and I can only say I was perfectly honest in my belief that Clause 4, even in the form it left this House, was a possible, useful, and good clause. I do not deny that now I do think weak points, holes, have been found in its armour in one or two particulars, and so far as I am concerned I am anxious to do all a man can do to remove all reasonable objections to that clause in order to make it frankly a denominational clause. I do not agree for one moment that it is a clause which will only benefit the Roman Catholics and the Jews. I think a good many wise and astute members of the Church of England think also that the clause offers opportunities which will very often secure to them their denominational teaching under circumstances which I think would justify them in retaining it. I really do not wish hon. Gentlemen opposite should rub Clause 4 into us so much and say, "How can you maintain that you have abolished tests for teachers when you have that clause in the Bill?" If it is a good clause you need not be so mightily concerned; if we have not fulfilled the whole of our intentions; if we have only fulfilled nine-tenths, we have shown you a very remarkable example. I desire to say that I earnestly do hope that the House of Lords will not take umbrage at the course we have pursued. You say perhaps they are entitled to do so. If they do, I should deeply regret it. You cannot argue with a person who thinks he has been wrongly treated. He will probably go on thinking so to the end of time. But again, I say for the last time, we had no such intention in our mind as that of inflicting any sort of insult or injury on the House of Lords or in any way dealing disrespectfully with that House, which has certain constitutional rights which at any rate we cannot object to at the present moment. I trust that any feeling they may have will not be inflamed by anything which has been said on either side of the House during the course of this debate. I believe this Bill can still be saved by some degree of concession—mutual concession. My right hon. friend the Prime Minister has indicated the sort of things and the sort of ways in which we are prepared to consider concessions, both as to Clause 4 and as to the modification in some way or another of the position of teachers under Clause 3. But the noble Lord the Member for Chorley puts it to me that we were bound to place on the Table of the House in black and white exactly what Amendments we were prepared to accept.


I merely said the House would not understand the speech of the right hon. Gentleman until they saw his concession in black and white.


That is the same thing. I do not pretend to be a diplomatist or a negotiator of any skill. I am a plain, blunt man who gets into trouble, as we all know, for the way he speaks to the Jews and other persons, but I have had some experience in my life of adjusting negotiatons which led to settlements, and I have never known them conducted in open Court with the Judge on the bench, the jury in the box, and the reporters in the gallery. The Government and their followers do not share the views that have been expressed as to the inherent wickedness of the Bill as it left this House, though it may be capable of improvement. I say, therefore, it would not be wise or desirable, having regard to the feelings of all good Liberals throughout the country, that we should say we are going to make such and such concessions without any knowledge of the spirit or the manner in which they were going to be received. I think we have already gone a very considerable length to prove our perfect good faith, and to prove that we do anxiously desire, in the interests of education and in the interest of the country, that a true and wise solution may come out of the present controversy.


I am not going to detain the House by another long speech on education. I am conscious of having trespassed on their patience twice already, and I am not going to add anything on the general merits of the question. I rise to speak only for five minutes as to my view of the effect on the situation of the speech we have just heard. The right hon. Gentleman has made an interesting speech, a good-natured speech, a humorous speech, and a speech in which there was almost every excellent quality except that it is not a speech which conduces, or can conduce, to a peaceful and satisfactory solution. He has not discussed the Amendments which came down to us from the Lords, and which are about to be rejected in so contemptuous a fashion. There is but one of those Amendments to which he has alluded in any way in detail, and that Amendment he totally misunderstood. He has completely misrepresented and totally misunderstood it—of course, misrepresented because he has misunderstood—for his bona fides is beyond question. I have listened with great admiration, but with profound depression, to his speech. It is the speech of a Minister and a Government who desire to kill the Bill with which they are dealing. We have heard one Member after another during the evening—at least, before dinner, but not so much since—begging for arrangement, compromise, conciliation—something which might enable an Education Bill to pass through Parliament this session. How is it possible if the matter is treated thus that any such hope can be realised? The right hon. Gentleman has in no sense attempted to deal with the Lords' Amendments. He has told us that he objects to every single one of them, and that he would have moved to disagree with every one if they had been taken seriatim, including, therefore, those moved by his own Party and those carried by the consent of his own Government. He and his friends have adopted a method of dealing with the Amendments which can hold out to no man who is acquainted with Parliamentary procedure the slightest hope. By the substance, not by the temper of his speech, and by the Resolution in support of which he spoke, the right hon. Gentleman has sent back the Bill from the House of Commons with a challenge. I had anticipated a completely different speech from that to which we have listened. I did not anticipate a better speech, but a different speech; and if the natural result is the loss of the Bill the responsibility is not with another place, but will rest with the Government, who have deliberately, by the methods they have adopted, prevented the possibility of arrangement.


I do not propose to intervene for more than a moment between the House and the division, but I would ask all upon both sides who tire really interested in the settlement of this great controversy to mark the note of difference between the speech of my right hon. friend, than which no one has ever heard a speech on this question more full of gracious and conciliatory spirit, so temperate in its presentation of argument, less calculated to give offence, more well adapted to attain accommodation—if accommodation were really desired—and the speech which has just been delivered by the Leader of the Opposition. I wish to say

on behalf of the Government before we come to this division our last word, which is this. If, contrary to our hopes and desire, we are unable to attain a permanent and workable solution of this long and embittered controversy, the responsibility for wrecking it lies with the right hon. Gentleman.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes, 416; Noes, 107. (Division List No. 492)

Abraham, William (Rhondda) Bryce, J.A.(Inverness Burghs) Dobson, Thomas W.
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Dolan, Charles Joseph
Agnew, George William Burke, E. Haviland- Donelan, Captain A.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Burns, Rt. Hon John Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness
Alden, Percy Burnyeat, W. J. D. Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles Dunne, Major E. Martin(Walsall
Ambrose, Robert Byles, William Pollard Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)
Armitage, R. Cairns, Thomas Edwards, Enoch (Henley)
Armstrong, W. C. Heaton Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Edwards, Frank (Radnor)
Ashton, Thomas Gair Carr-Gomm, H. W. Elibank, Master of
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward
Astbury, John Meir Cawley, Sir Frederick Erskine, David C.
Atherley-Jones, L. Chance, Frederick William Esmonde, Sir Thomas
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Channing, Sir Francis Allston Essex, R. W.
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.) Cheetham, John Frederick Evans, Samuel T.
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Eve, Harry Trelawney
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Churchill, Winston Spencer Everett, R. Lacey
Barker, John Clancy, John Joseph Farrell, James Patrick
Barlow, John Emmott (Som'rs't Clarke, C. Goddard Fenwick, Charles
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Cleland, J. W. Ferens, T. R.
Barnard, E. B. Clough, William Ffrench, Peter
Barnes. G. N. Coats, Sir T. Glen (Renfrew, W.) Fiennes, Hon. Eustace
Barran, Rowland Hirst Cobbold, Felix Thornley Findlay, Alexander
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Cogan, Denis J. Flavin, Michael Joseph
Beauchamp, E. Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter
Beaumont, Hn. H.(Eastbourne) Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W. Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry
Beaumont, Hn. W. C. B (Hexham Condon, Thomas Joseph Freeman-Thomas, Freeman
Beck, A. Cecil Cooper, G. J. Fuller, John Michael F.
Bell, Richard Corbett, CH (Sussex, E. Grinst'd Fullerton, Hugh
Bellairs, Carlyon Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Gibb, James (Harrow)
Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp't Cory, Clifford John Gilhooly, James
Benn, W. (T'w'rHamlets,S.Geo. Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Gill, A. H.
Bennett, E. N. Cowan, W. H. Ginnell, L.
Berridge, T. H. D. Cox, Harold Gladstone, Rt.Hn.HerbertJohn
Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'd Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Glover, Thomas
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Crean, Eugene Goddard, Daniel Ford
Billson, Alfred Cremer, William Randal Gooch, George Peabody
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Crombie, John William Grant, Corrie
Black, Arthur W. (Bedfordshir Crooks, William Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)
Boland, John Crosfield, A. H. Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward
Boulton, A. C. F. (Ramsey) Dalziel, James Henry Griffith, Ellis J.
Bowerman, C. W. Davies, David (Montgomery Co. Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill
Brace, William Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Gulland, John W.
Bramsdon, T. A. Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton
Branch, James Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Gwynn, Stephen Lucius
Brigg, John Delany, William Hall, Frederick
Bright, J. A. Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Halpin, J.
Brocklehurst, W. B. Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.) Hammond, John
Brodie, H. C. Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis
Brooke, Stopford Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)
Brunner, Rt Hn. Sir J. T(Cheshire Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Wore'r)
Bryce, Rt. Hn. James (Aberdeen Dillon, John Harmsworth, R. L (Caithnss'-sh
Harrington, Timothy M'Crae, George Redmond, William (Clare)
Hart-Davies, T. M'Kean, John. Rendall, Athelstan
Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester) Renton, Major Leslie
Harwood, George M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.) Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'h
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) M'Micking, Major G. Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n)
Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Maddison, Frederick Richardson, A.
Haworth, Arthur A. Mallet, Charles E. Rickett, J. Compton
Hayden, John Patrick Manfield, Harry (Northants) Ridsdale, E. A.
Hazel, Dr. A. E. Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Hedges, A. Paget Markham, Arthur Basil Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Helme, Norval Watson Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston) Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Hemmerde, Edward George Marnham, F. J. Robertson, Rt. Hn. E. (Dundee
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Massie, J. Robertson,SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd
Henderson,J.M.(Aberdeen, W.) Masterman, C. F. G. Robinson, S.
Henry, Charles S. Meagher, Michael Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Herbert, Colonel Ivor (Mon., S.) Meehan, Patrick A. Roe, Sir Thomas
Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe) Micklem, Nathaniel Rogers, F. E. Newman
Higham, John Sharp Molteno, Percy Alport Rowlands, J.
Hobart, Sir Robert Montagu, E. S. Runciman, Walter
Hobhouse, Charles E. H. Mooney, J. J. Russell, T. W.
Hodge, John Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Hogan, Michael Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)
Holden, E. Hopkinson Morley, Rt. Hon. John Samuel, S. M (Whitechapel)
Holland, Sir William Henry Morrell, Philip Scarisbrick, T. T. L.
Hooper, A. G. Morse, L. L. Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)
Hope, W. Bateman (Somers't, N Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Murnaghan, George Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under Lyne
Hudson, Walter Murphy, John Sears, J. E.
Hutton, Alfred Eddison Myer, Horatio Seaverns, J. H.
Hyde, Clarendon Nannetti, Joseph P. Seddon, J.
Idris, T. H. W. Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) Seely, Major J. B.
Illingworth, Percy H. Newnes, Sir George, (Swansea) Shackleton, David James
Isaacs, Rufus Daniel Nicholls, George Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Jackson, R. S. Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncas'r) Shaw, Rt, Hon. T. (Hawick B.)
Jacoby, Sir James Alfred Nolan, Joseph Sheehy, David
Jardine, Sir J. Norman, Sir Henry Sherwell, Arthur James
Johnson, John (Gateshead) Norton, Capt. Cecil William Shipman, Dr. John G.
Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) Nussey, Thomas Willans Silcock, Thomas Ball
Jones, Leif (Appleby) Nuttall, Harry Simon, John Allsebrook
Jowett, F. W. O'Brien, Kendal (TipperaryMid Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John
Joyce, Michael O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Sloan, Thomas Henry
Kearley, Hudson E. O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Kekewich, Sir George O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Kennedy, Vincent Paul O'Doherty, Philip Snowden, P.
Kincaid-Smith, Captain O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth) Soames, Arthur Wellesley
King, Alfred John (Knutsford) O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.) Soares, Ernest J.
Laidlaw, Robert O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.) Spicer, Sir Albert
Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester) O'Grady, J. Stanger, H. Y.
Lambert, George O'Hare, Patrick Stanley, Hn.A.Lyulph(Chesh.)
Lamont, Norman O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N Steadman, W. C.
Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) O'Malley, William Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Layland-Barratt, Francis O'Mara, James Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)
Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Strachey, Sir Edward
Lehmann, R. C. Partington, Oswald Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich) Paul, Herbert Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Levy, Maurice Paulton, James Mellor Sullivan, Donal
Lewis, John Herbert Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek) Summerbell, T.
Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David Perks, Robert William Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Lough, Thomas Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Lundon, W. Philipps, J. Wynford (Pembroke Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury
Lupton, Arnold Pickersgill, Edward Hare Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Pirie, Duncan V. Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Lyell, Charles Henry Pollard, Dr. Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.
Lynch, H. B. Power, Patrick Joseph Thompson, Franklin
Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs Price, O. E. (Edinburgh, Central) Thompson, J. W.H. (Somerset, E
Mackarness, Frederic C. Price, Robert John (Norfolk, E. Thorne, William
Maclean, Donald Priestley, Arthur (Grantham) Tillett, Louis John
Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.) Tomkinson, James
MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Radford, G. H. Toulmin, George
MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S. Rea, Russell (Gloucester) Trevelyan, Charles Philips
MacVeagh, Charles (Donegal, E.) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro' Ure, Alexander
M'Arthur, William Reddy, M. Verney, F. W.
M'Callum, John M. Redmond, John E. (Waterford) Villiers, Ernest Amherst
Walker, H. De R. (Leicester) Weir, James Galloway Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)
Wallace, Robert Whitbread, Howard Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Walsh, Stephen White, George (Norfolk) Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)
Walters, John Tudor White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)
Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.) White, Luke (York, E.R.) Wilson, P.W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Walton, Joseph (Barnsley) White, Patrick (Meath, North) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent Whitley, J. H. (Halifax) Winfrey, R.
Ward, W. Dudley (Southampt'n Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Warner, Thomas Courtenay T. Wiles, Thomas Yoxall, James Henry
Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan) Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney) Williams, Llewellyn (Carm'th'n TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.
Waterlow, D. S. Williams, Osmond (Merioneth) Whiteley and Mr. J. A.
Watt, H. Anderson Williamson, A. Pease.
Wedgwood, Josiah C. Wills, Arthur Walters
Anson, Sir William Reynell Fell, Arthur Nield, Herbert
Anstruther-Gray, Major Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. O'Brien, William (Cork)
Arkwright, John Stanhope Fletcher, J. S. O'Niell, Hon. Robert Torrens
Balcarres, Lord Forster, Henry William Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n)
Balfour, RtHn A.J.(City Lond.) Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East) Percy, Earl
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey) Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West), Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Haddock, George R. Ratcliff Major R. F.
Banner, John S. Harmood- Hamilton, Marquess of Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N. Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Eccleshall)
Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B. Roche, Augustine (Cork)
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Healy, Timothy Michael Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Bignold, Sir Arthur Heaton, John Henniker Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Bowles, G. Stewart Helmsley, Viscount Salter, Arthur Clavell
Boyle, Sir Edward Hervey, F. W. F.(Bury S. Edmnds Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Bridgeman, W. Clive Hills, J. W. Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East
Bull, Sir William James Hornby, Sir William Henry Smith, F.E. (Liverpool, Walton)
Burdett-Coutts, W. Houston, Robert Paterson Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Butcher, Samuel Henry Hunt, Rowland Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk
Carlile, E. Hildred Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H Starkey, John R.
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hon. Col. W. Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.)
Cave, George Keswick, William Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Cavendish, Rt. Hon. Victor C.W. King, Sir Henry Seymour(Hull) Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'dUniv)
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark
Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey- Lane-Fox, G. R. Thornton, Percy M.
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Lee, Arthur H.(Hants, Fareh'm) Tuke, Sir John Batty
Chamberlain, Rt. HnJ.A.(Wore. Liddell, Henry Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham) Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Collings, Rt. Hn. J (Birmingham Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S. Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Lonsdale, John Brownlee Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R,
Craig, Captain James (Down, ) Lowe, Sir Francis William Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Doughty, Sir George Magnus, Sir Philip Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Marks, H. H. (Kent) Younger, George
Du Cros, Harvey Mason, James F. (Windsor)
Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govn Meysey-Thompson, E. C. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir
Faber, George Denison (York) Morpeth, Viscount Alexander Acland-Hood and
Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.) Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield Viscount Valentia.

Question put, and agreed to.

Committee appointed to draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to their Amendments to the Bill.

Committee nominated of, Mr. Attorney-General, Mr. Birrell, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Henry Fowler, Mr. Lloyd-George, and Mr. Lough.

Three to be the quorum.

To withdraw immediately.