HC Deb 02 July 1906 vol 159 cc1437-523

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

[Mr. EMMOTT (Oldham) in the Chair.]

Clause 6:—

MR. AUSTIN TAYLOR (Liverpool, East Toxteth)

submitted that it was not in order to discuss this clause, inasmuch as the Committee had already come to a decision in a contrary sense, when on Clause 1 they decided that religious instruction should not be given outside the school hours. This clause put religious instruction outside compulsory attendance, and therefore outside the school hours.


said that even if the hon. Member were correct about Clause 1 he had given the Answer to his own Question, which was that Clause 6 dealt with attendance, whereas the Amendments on Clause 1 dealt with religious instruction. He did not think the Question submitted by the hon. Member arose.

MR. WALTERS (Sheffield, Brightside)

said that the object of the Amendment standing in his name and of consequential Amendments was that the children should attend the schoolhouse during the whole time that it was used as a public elementary school. If parents objected to their children receiving religious instruction, provision should be made for secular instruction to be given in school hours in lieu of religious instruction. He said quite frankly that he approached this matter not so much from a religious as from an educational standpoint. He regarded the question more from the side of school efficiency and school discipline; and he was very much afraid that, in all the ingenious balancing of denominations, they would forget that the principal object of the schoolhouse was to educate the children. Let them take, for instance, the serious disturbance to discipline and efficiency that would be caused by the working of the facilities clauses, and, in addition, by the different times at which the children would be permitted to come to school in the morning. Both classes and curriculum would be disarranged. He was not surprised that the Minister for Education should say that under this clause a larger number of boys would be an object not of obloquy, but of envy to others, because the teachers would have no knowledge whether the children were coming to school or not, and the parents would have no knowledge that the children whom they were sending to school ever reached it. The result would be that a large number of children would absent themselves at the commencement of the day; the teacher would have a difficult task in the organisation of the classes to start with, and then he would have to rearrange the classes again when the second or third batch of children came in. He therefore opposed Clause 6 on educational grounds. He now came to the very serious question of child labour. He thought that Clause 6 opened the door very widely for a considerable extension of child labour. There were two forces at work in that direction: first, the greed of employers and, secondly, the selfishness of parents. Cheap child labour was always an attraction to a certain type of employer; and if children might be absent from school till a quarter to ten o'clock there would be a large increase in the number of boys and girls who would be employed to run errands; for indoor and outdoor work, and as domestic drudges. The children would not be fit for school instruction after a hard morning's work. Then the school attendance officers would lose control over the children. At least 10 per cent. of the children at present had to be compelled to attend school by the constant superintendence of the school attendance officers, and if they added inducements to children to stay away from school until 9.45 each morning, this would further increase the irregularity of attendance. He had the strongest objections to child labour. He thought that the world's work should be done by adult men—not by children or old men; and therefore the burden on children should not be increased but diminished. It might be asked why should not this matter be settled by the local education authority by by-law? He objected to that, because it would raise over again the religious difficulty which the House were trying to settle. They had, by a large majority, decided that they would not have secular instruction only in the elementary schools of the country; that there was to be undenominational religious teaching, and that certain special facilities were to be given for denominational religious instruction. As a Nonconformist he thought the Government had been too liberal in the latter respect; but he thought in common honour it would not become the House to take away those facilities by a kind of side issue; and they ought not to throw this bone of contention among the local education authorities. But neither did he want that the special facilities should be increased by a side issue. The object of hon. Gentlemen opposite was to ask for local option so as to provide a method of withdrawing the children from school during school hours and taking them to church. That was going beyond bounds and increasing the facilities for religious instruction beyond what the Committee had already granted. He thought it would be very much better, instead of leaving this to the local education authority, that it should he decided there and then definitely and distinctly what the policy was to be. He was very jealous of any interference with the effective working of the school system in the country and particularly of council schools in which there was no religious difficulty whatever. He believed that the Conscience Clause in Section 7 of the Act of 1870 was all that was required. In point of fact it was seldom put into operation. The people were entirely satisfied with the kind of religious instruction given in the council schools, and there was no demand for special religious teaching in some other building than the school. He could not understand why some hon. Members on the Ministerial side of the House should want that system altered. He had no objection to the parents having the right upon a definite written request to have their children withdrawn from the school premises during the time religious instruction was being given, or, in the alternative, to their children being given secular or moral instruction in separate rooms during the religious instruction hour Surely children who lived in squalid surroundings, whose lives were hard and prosaic, were the children who would benefit most by the touch of imagination given by the reading of the Bible story and parable. Surely the children who had to suffer most from, and were the victims of, the worst forms of industrial greed and selfishness most needed the lessons of love and humanity from the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount and the gracious influences of religion. It was for these reasons that he moved the Amendment standing in his name.

Amendment proposed— In page 4, line 9, after the word 'the,' to insert the words 'obligation of a.'"—(Mr. Walters.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."

DR. MACNAMARA (Camberwell, N.)

asked the hon. Member to read out in full the constructive effect of his Amendments.


said that if his Amendments as a whole were accepted the clause would run—"The obligation of a parent to cause his child to attend, school shall, notwithstanding any bylaw, include an obligation to cause the child to attend at the schoolhouse during any time allotted to any religious observance, or to instruction in religious subjects, during the hours for which the schoolhouse is used for the purposes of a public elementary school. Provided that the local education authority shall provide during the time so allotted for any children who are withdrawn by their parents from any such observance or instruction some form of secular instruction."

MR. SAMUEL EVANS (Glamorganshire, Mid.)

inquired whether it was in order for an hon. Member to propose an entirely new clause upon an Amendment to insert "obligation of a," which meant nothing.


said that no doubt the Amendment on the Paper was, by itself, utterly incomprehensible. But it was followed by others which made it comprehensible and was not out of order. He had already stated his reasons for allowing the Amendment and its fellows to be moved. It raised all the important issues raised by the clause itself, and raised them in a convenient form, although no doubt the effect of the Amendments taken as a whole was to remodel the clause to a greater extent than was desirable if any new issue had been raised by it.


said it would be in the recollection of the Committee that a few days ago he promised on behalf of the Government that the Committee should have an opportunity of voting on Clause 6 without any hint or suggestion being given to them by the employment of Government tellers. In this matter, therefore, their will was free, and he hoped hon. Members enjoyed that position. The issue was not altogether free from difficulty, and even of some measure of technicality; and he hoped hon. Members would allow him to state what was exactly the present state of the law upon the subject. Supposing Clause 6 were to be struck out of the Bill altogether and no fresh enactment of any kind made, how would the matter stand? Now, the existing by-laws made it perfectly plain that the parent of every child of not less than five or more than fourteen years of age should cause such child to attend school—the Committee would observe it did not say the school-house—unless there was some reasonable excuse for non-attendance. The next by-law provided that the time during which the child should attend school should be the whole time that the school was open for instruction, subject, of course, to the conscience clause providing for the withdrawal of any child from religious instruction. It was a very ineffective conscience clause which was provided for under the Act of 1870. That Act was silent as to whether the right of withdrawal meant the right of withdrawal of the child from the school premises or whether it simply meant the right of withdrawal from the class in which religious instruction was given, although he believed that during the course of the debate in 1870 it was made perfectly plain that what was intended was the right to withdraw the child from the religious instruction and not from the schoolhouse itself. Ever since 1870 the general practice had been to require the nonconforming child to attend the school house, to stand apart from his fellows, and to be regaled with some branch of secular information instead of religious instruction. Then came the Act of 1902, which transferred the voluntary school to the local authority, and, at all events, imposed on the local authority for the first time the obligation of settling the time table and paying for the instruction. Then the question was raised in certain parts of the country as to whether the child could be taken at nine o'clock from the school to the church for religious instruction. The Board of Education decided that it was a question for every local authority to decide for itself, whether the by-law was complied with by allowing the child to be taken elsewhere for the purpose of receiving religious instruction. Then came the by-law called by the honoured name of the late Parliamentary Secretary of the Board of Education. As a matter of fact, out of 326 local authorities ninety-four had adopted the Anson by-law, and 232 had not. Consequently the present state of the law might be stated as follows: Where the by law had not been adopted—that was in the areas of 232 local authorities—every child was required to attend the school-house during the religious instruction time, except in the very few cases where the local authority had indicated that it would regard attendance at church as equivalent to attendance at the school-house. Where the new by-law prevailed—that was in ninety-four cases—the child need not attend the school-house, if the parent had written in that sense, during the time of religious instruction. No doubt it was presumed that the child was absent in order to obtain religious instruction elsewhere, but there was no compulsion or obligation of any kind so to occupy the time when he was liberated from school. Consequently, taking that by-law into account, it rested entirely at present with every local authority in the country to decide whether there was compulsory attendance during religious instruction time or not. The local authority might adopt the by-law; if it did, the parent could notify in writing his desire to withdraw his child, and the child was withdrawn altogether from school during the period of religious instruction. That was within the option of every local authority in the country. As he had said, 232 local authorities wont on with the law as before—namely, the child was supposed and required to attend the schoolhouse; although a parent has never been prosecuted for non-attendance, nevertheless, the child was required to attend at the schoolhouse for the purpose of receiving religious instruction or, in the alternative, secular instruction. That was the present situation. Were no law passed and Clause 6 deleted altogether, matters would remain in that position. He adhered iti his own mind to Clause 6. Although he had been much affected by some of the considerations put forward on grounds of fear and alarm as to what would happen supposing parents got to know what it was assumed they did not know, that no harm would befall them if their children did not attend until the religious instruction was over, he supported Clause 6 for three reasons. In the first place he was perfectly satisfied that it was the only effective way of making the conscience clause a reality. It was a matter of great regret that all these years the conscience clause had remained ineffective; because if only it had been recognised as a real thing in our town and country school life—if it had become a thing under which a claim was easily made, readily granted, generously allowed, he did not believe they would have been in the difficulties they had been in all these years. The number of times in which the conscience clause had been enforced, considering the number of cases involved, was extremely small. He believed he knew why that was. The conscience clause was invented, conceived, and framed for the purpose of protecting the conscience of the parent; but it was so framed as to cast the whole burden of securing its enforcement upon the tender shoulders and the thin skin of the child, who was required to go to the school armed, it might be, with a document from his father, and to demand an exceptional, special kind of treatment, to be exposed undoubtedly to a good deal of remark and sarcasm, and to have given to it in lieu of religious instruction, some form, and very likely a disagreeable form, of secular knowledge. Therefore, he said that a conscience clause, if they wanted one, should be made a really effective one. They wanted to secure that it should be put into operation whenever it ought to be. They ought not to impose a burden, as the present conscience clause did, upon a child. Children could not, they really would not, and they ought not to be expected to submit to it. Anybody who had ever been in the position of a minority child, and who had not forgotten his own child-nature, would, he thought, recognise the truth of what he had said. Another reason for the clause as it stood was that it got rid of the difficulty of the school hours, by no means an improper thing to get rid of. The Committee had shown by a large majority that it wished religious instruction to be maintained in all the schools; and it had also, he was glad to say, secured some measure at all events of facilities for denominational teaching in the schools. He thought, therefore, it was all the more important and desirable that they should eliminate from the area of passion and shibboleth and Party feeling all that they could. The subject was difficult enough as it now stood, and anything that reduced the difficulties was to be commended. He thought, therefore, the fact that this clause did get rid of the difficulties of school hours was a distinct advantage. He would also point out, and he thought he was bound to point out, although this part of his argument might not approve itself to his hon. friend behind him, that this was not a bad denominational clause, since it did allow—and nobody, it seemed to him, whether he desired it or not, could by any possibility object to that—an opportunity for giving denominational teaching outside school hours, at the expense of those who gave it, in a very convenient form. It might be that those who did not like the denominational instruction might view with disfavour the idea that the practice should grow up in this country of, for example, the Church children being taken by the vicar or rector of the parish at nine in the morning to the church or the vestry for three-quarters of an hour's definite religious instruction; but no Nonconformist who had grasped the principle of his Nonconformity could have any objection to any such proposal. It was not done during school hours or out of the ratepayers' or taxpayers' funds. It was a matter of private zeal and of private devotion; and anybody who could secure that zeal and that devotion was, surely, at perfect liberty so to do. He thought, therefore, although not himself sharing the denominational zeal of many Gentlemen opposite, or sharing their view of the advantages gained by the children being taught together in school hours, that he was bound in justice and in truth to indicate that this clause as it stood did give to the children reasonable opportunities during the old time, at the old school hours of the day at which children had been accustomed to receive religious instruction, to receive this definite religious instruction. For these reasons he thought this clause was the most honest, the boldest, the clearest way of dealing with this difficult question. It made the conscience clause a reality, and enabled those persons who really did not wish their children to receive particular religious instruction to secure their withdrawal without putting upon them a too heavy and, indeed, intolerable obligation. All educationists would agree that it would be a grievous thing if the school-going habit, built up at an enormous expense of public money during the last thirty or forty years, were to be destroyed; but having made such inquiry as he could in London and other places, he could only say that there was a tendency to exaggerate the fears upon that matter referred to by his hon. friend. School-going had now become an ingrained habit in this country, and it was an entire mistake to assume that either the great majority of the parents or the great majority of the children reluctantly sent, or went, to school. The instances they had in London of the actual employment of children of school-going age in lucrative pursuits for gain at the expense of their school hours were happily very few indeed; and the prohibition of the law as to child labour, which was intended to be made severer than it was, and the growth of a much sounder opinion on this subject made it possible to hope that there would be in the future even fewer of such instances than in the past. He did not really think—although the subject was one that deserved careful consideration—that there was any occasion for the nervous dread and anxiety on this subject which animated very good people. For the reasons he had given, and having regard also to the general structure of the Bill, by which, Cowper-Temple instruction being made as universal as possible, and by the facilities now given under Clauses 3 and 4, they had done their best to give to the education of this country a distinctively religious flavour, he thought they were bound in the interests of religious liberty itself to adhere to the clause, and he recommended it accordingly to the Committee.


hoped the Committee would permit him to say a few words on a subject in which he had taken a very great interest. Did the right hon. Gentleman intend the time table now existing, and which provided for the opening of the school at nine o'clock, to be continued, or was the hour of opening to be that which terminated at the end of the time usually allotted to religious instruction? It seemed to him that very much depended upon that. He believed that at the present time the parents had never been punished for not sending their children to school during the half hour allotted to religious instruction, but on the other hand the child had been submitted to penalties for non-attendance. Before this clause could be fully discussed the Government ought to explain to the Committee whether they intended that the time table should be in its present form. He entirely agreed with what had been said by the hon. mover of the Amendment, who had stated the position very clearly, and he did not think the answer given by the Minister for Education could be regarded either as complete or satisfactory. It was the pleasure of this House two or three years ago to pass a measure which was not so much enforced as he would wish it to be, for the regulation of the labour of children. They had abundant evidence, when they were dealing with that subject, of the unfortunate greed of too many parents shown in their desire to make use—improper use, as some Members thought—of the labour of their children, and to earn a few pence at the sacrifice of benefit to the children. If that were the case two or three years ago it was certainly the case now, and he did not think the Committee would be acting wisely if they ever passed legislation upon the principle that there had been a great change in the sense of parental duty in this respect. The real difficulty was that they were apt to fix their minds upon the great mass of parents and to pass over instances which, though not so numerous, were yet appreciable in their number. He could not dispose of this part of the case so lightly as did the right hon. Gentleman, who would find upon inquiry that there were practical grounds for the fears he ventured to express. Another strong and valid reason was the difficulty which parents would experience in exercising authority over their children during this half or three-quarters of an hour, and it had not been explained who else was to have supervision over them. He believed that in many cases, if they were not employed by their parents in gathering pence, they would certainly do business on their own account. Even if they did not adopt that course they would probably waste their time and get into evil habits through lack of that superintendence which all children required. They might fall into the practice of systematic deception towards their parents. There was one more point—he was speaking now after conversation with a most experienced teacher—and it was that there would be a great difficulty in securing prompt attendance at the secular hour. During the time devoted to religious teaching there was now some want of punctuality, but by the time secular instruction began the register was filled up by the presence of children. Another objection to the proposal was that it would encourage indolence on the part of a parent who would be enabled to commence the day's task half or three-quarters of an hour later.

MR. PERKS (Lincolnshire, Louth)

said he wished in a few words to explain why he was strongly in favour of the view submitted to the Committee by the President of the Board of Education. He thought the clause was the only real and effective protection for Nonconformist children in the small village schools. It must not be forgotten that under the Bill which was intended to establish a uniform system there were to be four types of school instead of two as in the past. So far as council schools were concerned, the proposal of his hon. friend the Member for the Brightside Division of Sheffield would be a distinctly retrograde step. He passed at once to village schools, with which he was chiefly concerned. He spoke as a Nonconformist, and, he believed, represented the overwhelming body of Nonconformist, on this particular point; he hoped they might also receive the support of the Irish Catholics.

MB. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

Certainly not.


said he would give one or two reasons why the Amendment might perhaps be disadvantageous from the Catholic as well as from the Non-conformist point of view. The village schools in Lincolnshire at all events very generally contained a very large proportion of Nonconformists. He had had the figures taken out for several typical village schools. These schools all belonged to the National Society or church organisations, which in the course of the transfer would doubtless make it a condition that the facilities provided under Clause 3 should be enforced. The religious instruction would therefore take the form, he presumed, of Cowper-Temple instruction plus the special facilities, which might be given, as they had thought, on two days of the week, but which, according to an interpretation recently put on the clause, might, apparently, be given on five days a week. He was not quite sure what interpretation the Government put on that clause, as there was some little difference of opinion on the subject between the President of the Board of Education and the Leader of the Opposition. Be that as it might, the only protection which the Nonconformists would secure, if the Amendments now under discussion were passed, would be the conscience clause. In Lincolnshire the conscience clause had been an absolute farce. In one of the villages to which he would refer in a moment, where there were sixty-one Church of England children and 105 Nonconformists in the school, a labourer a few years ago who claimed the benefit of the conscience clause had a notice to quit served upon him almost immediately consequent on that claim. In another village school close by he himself saw on a winter morning two little children standing at the porch. He asked them what they were doing, and they said their father was a labourer in the village and that he claimed the benefit of the conscience clause. At Marshchapel, there were eleven Church of England children to 106 children of Nonconformist parents. In the next school there were sixty-one Church of England children, and 105 Nonconformists. In the third school there were seventeen children of Church parents and 120 Nonconformist children. In the fourth school there were twenty-six Church of England children and thirty-five Nonconformists; in the fifth school there were twenty Church of England children and eighty Nonconformists; and in the sixth ten Church of England children and twenty Nonconformists. In every one of these schools there would be distinctly sectarian instruction in accordance with the tenets of the Established Church, and if the Amendment were passed the only protection of the Nonconformist children who were in an overwhelming majority would be the conscience clause. The same proportion existed in Cornwall and in Durham as in Lincolnshire. The schools which claimed and received the special advantages of Clause 4, and certainly the State-aided schools, would be largely Anglican and Catholic. They would be affected to even a greater degree by the operation of the clause than the rural schools which by Clause 3 would be thrown back again into the hopeless and, as he thought, most unsatisfactory and unjust position in which they had hitherto been. He did not suggest that a child should be brought up without religious instruction, but he did think it was very important in many of these little villages, and particularly in small rural towns, that the parent should have an opportunity of seeing the nature of the religious instruction given in the schools before he decided whether he would avail himself of such religious instruction. It would be idle to say that the teacher must give secular instruction to the Nonconformist children who were withdrawn. The proportion in these schools between the two section of the community was so overwhelmingly in favour of Nonconformity that the teacher could not be told off, during the period the Nonconformists were claiming the benefit of the conscience clause, to give religious instruction to a very small percentage. The clause was really the only effective protection the children of the rural districts would have against religious persecution, against the bringing to bear on them of all the hundred and one different ways of using the schools for the benefit of the Church. Therefore while he much regretted that the Government had not adhered to the clause as they brought it in, but had run away from its provisions, he was very glad to find the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill had had the courage to state to the Committee so clearly his views so far as he was personally concerned.


remarked that the hon. Member for the Louth Division had asked him to take the same attitude as he had taken on this clause. Perhaps the hon. Member would be astonished if he said he had not heard from him a single argument in support of the clause. The instance he had mentioned of religious persecution in Lincolnshire would not apply to the parent who withdrew his child altogether. He was astonished at the description given of the condition of the schools in Lincolnshire. When the Minister for Education drew a picture of the feelings of what he was pleased to call the minority children he sympathised with him, but the schools of Lincolnshire did not contain minority children. Were they to be told that the Nonconformists of Lincolnshire were so cowardly and had so little self-respect that seventeen Church children out of 140 children could dominate the school?


said he never suggested anything of the sort. His argument was that the majority should not be tyrannised over.


contended that that argument would apply with equal force if Clause 6 was passed, because there would be a more ample opportunity for persecution. The only argument which had been adduced in favour of this clause by the Minister for Education was that in certain schools where there was a small minority the children might be placed at a disadvantage by being asked to stand aside. Was that argument strong enough to justify the introduction of a clause which amounted to a reversal of the decision of the Committee on Clause 1? This was a secular education clause. Had the Minister for Education forgotten the great change that was going to be made in the system of education by this Bill? What was the burning necessity for the conscience clause? What was going to be the established religion of the country? Was it against the established religion that they required a conscience clause? [MINISTERIAL cries of "Yes."] Then why did hon. Members opposite not support the Amendment moved by the hon. Member for Burnley? Those who refused to support the hon. Member on that occasion expressed the opinion that the children should be educated in simple Bible teaching or fundamental Christianity. For the future in the vast majority of the schools the Nonconformists of England would have the religious education which they had selected, and it was against that that they required an extended form of the conscience clause. He had been appealed to as a champion of the rights of parents and he had been asked why he did not support this clause so as to give the parent a right to withdraw his child from religious instruction. Would hon. Members on the Ministerial side be willing to extend that principle and give those who desired denominational instruction a right to withdraw their children from secular instruction? That was quite logical. ["No, no."] He thought it was. This clause was a solemn announcement to the whole of the English people that religion must take a back seat in all the schools of England. [MINISTERIAL cries of "No."] It was an announcement that for the future compulsory education was to apply only to subjects of secular instruction, while religion was to be outlawed. The Anson by-law had been alluded to, but that was a very different thing from Clause 6. It was a rather confused document, but it laid down that where an individual parent served a written demand or notification that he wished to withdraw his child from religious instruction he should have the right to do so. Although that by-law was issued two years ago, only one-third or one-fourth of the local bodies were putting it into force. But that was totally different from what was now proposed in Clause 6, because it threw upon the parent the somewhat invidious task of sending in a written application, but that was different from declaring to the whole of England that there was no necessity for a parent to send his child to attend religious instruction. What would be the inevitable result? He agreed that this clause was entirely vicious in its operation, but it would affect least of all the Catholic schools, because the priest could be trusted to bring in the Catholic children in spite of this clause. Therefore its main effect would be on the non-Catholic schools, although it would affect Catholic schools in the long run. The withdrawal of children from religious instruction was a kind of thing that would spread, because the whole school would begin to envy those children who enjoyed the privilege of being withdrawn, and year by year their numbers would gradually increase. He believed that was the reason why the clause aroused enthusiasm amongst those who supported a secular system. It was simply introducing secularism through the back door, and so far as the Protestant schools, were concerned it was distinctly a secular clause. He would like to have a poll of the teachers of England on the question. It would have a bad effect on the schools, and above all it would have a bad effect in the case of selfish parents. The Minister for Education had said he did not believe that the majority of parents unwillingly sent their children to school or that the children went unwillingly to school. There were, he believed, a large minority that did send their children very unwillingly, and unless child nature had changed since he was a boy, many children went to school unwillingly and would be very glad of an extra hour at home in the morning, or for play on the way to school. What he was most concerned about was the selfish parent, who would not take the trouble to get his child ready in time for school or would employ him in work about the house. If a parent chose he could keep his child away for an hour after school began. The difficulty of school hours could always have been got rid of by keeping religion outside school hours, and that was what the clause proposed to do. It was a curious thing that at the time when this proposition was made to inform all the parents of England that they might, and to invite them to keep away their children from school while religion was being taught, there was introduced into the Code a new direction of a very curious and interesting type, called moral instruction, which would form an important part of every elementary school curriculum. It was his opinion that all moral instruction should be based on Christianity. The new direction included the following: Cleanliness of mind and body, love of fair play, gentleness to the weak, temperance, humanity, and self-denial. All these excellent teachings rested on Christianity. Nevertheless the Christian religion was to be driven outside school hours and some form of ethics was to be employed instead. What Catholics believed was that some religious belief should permeate the whole school teaching. The Amendment appeared to him to be one of a series of Amendments to make the clause do exactly the opposite of that which it now proposed to do. If the Amendment were carried it meant that the clause would be precisely the opposite of that which the Minister for Education intended. He heartily supported the Amendment. He could only characterise the clause as an attempt to carry secularism, not frankly and openly, but by a gradual and insidious process.

MR. PAUL (Northampton)

said the hon. Member for the Louth Division was the acknowledged leader of Nonconformity in this House, and he had referred with a contempt which he fully shared to the ambiguities and inconsistencies of Clause 3. He could not help reminding the hon. Member that he (Mr. Paul) got no assistance from him on that point when the clause was passed, but he trusted that he would be more fortunate when he moved the rejection of the clause on Report. The question before the Committee, however, was not one to be judged between Nonconformists and Anglicans, or between Roman Catholics and Protestants, or even between Con- servatives and Liberals, but between those who desired religion as a sort of extra subject and those who thought religion should be an integral and fundamental part of all education. He could not help thinking that it was from the religious training of the young in this country that there came those rare, high-minded, disinterested characters such as that whose loss they were all deploring at that moment—their dear friend, the friend of all of them, Sir Wilfrid Lawson. He was very glad the Government had seen their way to allow the Committee to vote on this question as they pleased. He did not know whether the reason for that unexpected laxity was due to the fact that the Government had for once been unsuccessful in their search for a mandate. All this talk about mandates made him tired and sick. Mandate, mandate, everywhere, there was no room to think. Were they automata? Were they all mandate, and no mind? As, however, every Member with a mandate claimed to interpret it for himself, perhaps the independence of the House was in that way recovered. The question was whether religion, subject to the conscience clause, was or was not to be in the future an integral part of the teaching in all elementary schools, and he earnestly trusted that the Committee would decide that it was. He was very much afraid that if they did not insist upon religion being part of the ordinary curriculum they might be driven to something like that sinister future darkly sketched, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, in which a number of wrangling and differing theologians were to be let loose upon the children to teach them to hate each other for the love of God. He prayed that He in His good providence might avert that awful calamity and enable the children to grow up in the future as they had grown up in the past with the two things that could never fail them—the example of their Saviour's teaching and the consciousness of their Father's care.

LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone, E.)

said he did not propose to follow the hon. Member for Northampton in the discussion of the scheme put forward by his right hon. friend the Member for West Birmingham, for that did not appear to arise directly on this Amendment. It appeared to him that the clause as it stood, besides being open to the objection urged against it by the hon. Member for East Mayo and others, gave the children the opportunity of doing three things. It permitted them to go to school and gat what he would call for shortness the State religion; it enabled them to be kept away, and, as the Minister for Education pointed out, to receive at their homes or elsewhere the religion which their parents prefered; or, lastly, it enabled the parents either to employ the children or to allow them to go and play on the streets. Quite apart from the other aspects of the question it appeared to him to be an undesirable thing that children should be encouraged either to undergo labour before going to school, or to play in the streets. He understood that was one of the main objections of the hon. Member who moved the Amendment; he proposed by way of alteration to prevent children from doing work or playing, and he required them to go to school either to get secular instruction or the State religion. That did not appear to him to be a fair arrangement. It appeared to be, he would not say creating, but establishing that form of religion in almost all the schools of the country, and also compelling the children to receive that religion or no other. It might be right—he thought it was right—to prevent the children from playing in the streets or doing work, but he did not think it was right to prevent them from receiving at home or elsewhere the religious instruction which their parents desired. It seemed to him to be a gross piece of intolerance, if he might say so, to interfere with the rights of the father to teach his children what he pleased. Therefore the Amendment which he had on the Paper, † and which he pro posed to move— † The Amendment standing in the name of Lord R. Cecil was to insert in the proposed Amendment, after the word "obligation," the words "except as hereinafter provided;" and at end to add "and that a parent shall not be subject to any penalty under this section for not causing his child to attend the schoolhouse during any time so allotted if he shows to the satisfaction of the court that he has caused his child during that time to attend some form of religious observance or instruction elsewhere.


I think the noble Lord's Amendment should come after the word "shall," or after the word "objection" in the second line of the clause. It does not seem to arise at this point at all.


said that in view of the Chairman's ruling he would not deal with the specific Amendment which he had intended to move, but he presumed he would be in order in discussing the general effect of the clause, and of the possible modification which would make it more tolerable. The matter for the consideration of the Committee was whether it was really desirable to give the special position which, the Amendment now before them would to the State religion, because the effect of it would be to say to the children that if they wished they could receive this State religion, or they could receive secular instruction, but if they desired or if their parents desired any other kind of religious instruction it must be taught to them in play time or at some other time. That made it additionally difficult for the children to receive the religious instruction which their parents preferred. He could not think that was fair. It was said that there was no hardship in compelling children to receive this undenominational religion. [AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear.] He was glad to hear that cheer, because, taking the advice of the Minister for Education, he had looked at the return of syllabuses, and he confessed that he had arrived at some conclusions which were not altogether in accordance with those of the right hon. Gentleman. In the first place, there was no guarantee practically in the vast majority of the syllabuses that the religious instruction would be effective at all. In most cases there was no inspection. He did not deny that many of the teachers would give good religious instruction under the syllabuses, but it must be remembered that it would not be grant-earning instruction, and that it would not be tested in any way by examination. That seemed to him to be a very unsatisfactory way of giving religious instruction in schools. The charge made by the hon. and learned Member for Louth was perfectly accurate, namely, that the forms of religious instruction sanctioned were exceedingly varied. That was very unsatisfactory. He commended to the attention of hon. Members who believed in simple Bible teaching the fact that the religious instruction was highly dogmatic. It was not the teaching of the Church of England, or of the Roman Catholic Church, but it was, nevertheless, highly dogmatic. To tell any sensible person—if he might class himself in that category—that it was simple undogmatic teaching was really an insult to his intelligence. He instanced the Cornwall syllabus, which provided for the teaching of the Apostles' Creed and practically the whole of the New Testament, and also for the giving of explanations by the teacher of passages of Scripture. It was not possible that such teaching should be anything but highly dogmatic. He noticed curiously enough that in teaching the Apostles' Creed it was required that the teacher, in dea'iag with two of the final clauses of that Creed, should put a particular meaning upon them. In other words, in teaching the most controversial clauses of the whole Creed the teacher was to select a particular interpretation which would not be assented to by a large number of Christian denominations. How could hon. Gentlemen opposite tell him that that was not a denominational religion? Of course it was—or it would be if anyone were to adopt it as his creed, and the only reason why it was put in the syllabus was that it had not been definitely adopted by any denomination. It was said that this clause would be a hardship to numbers of Nonconformists in Lincolnshire who would be compelled to send their children to school on two days of the week when denominational religious instruction was given; but how much greater would be the hardship on Church children who would be compelled to attend five days in the week when so-called undenominational religious instruction was given? He confessed that if the clause were amended as proposed by the hon. Member for the Brightside Division, he would have the greatest difficulty in supporting it; but if it were amended in the way he had suggested in the earlier part of his speech his objection to it would be lessened. The true solution of the difficulty would be the withdrawal of the Nonconformist chil- dren for religious instruction elsewhere. That would prevent the employment of children in other pursuits and would not encourage them to desert religious instruction altogether. The real reason why he objected to the clause as it stood was that it gave a secularist flavour to the whole Bill. If in addition to saying that the formula of any particular Church was not to be taught, they said that they did not think much of dogmatic religion and did not wish their children to be taught it, then they gave a downward impetus to all religious teaching. Although personally, as the Committee knew, he disapproved altogether of undenominational religious teaching, which he thought was wrong, he would rather have undenominational teaching such as was provided for by the Cornwall syllabus, given by Christian men, than no religious teaching at all. He did not deny that such teaching was of some value; but he would rather have a secularist system than a rotten undenominational system, which pretended to give the children religious instruction but did not. In the undenominational system which set out to teach the children sweetness and light, he had no faith whatever. That was giving the children a stone when they asked for bread.

MR. MYER (Lambeth, N.)

said he would sooner have the children taught religion of some kind than none at all. He thought that in school hours the children should have moral instruction, to which their parents could not object. He felt certain that if the children were allowed to go to school at different times there would be no regularity of attendance, for the ordinary workman had no great desire on the matter of religious teaching for his children; it would be found that the schools would become emptier and emptier, and the children would be allowed to run about the streets or would be employed at home. He believed that the teachers themselves would prefer that there should be some regular hour for attendance at school, and that the children whose parents did not desire that they should be given special denominational instruction, should be given moral teaching, such as kindness to their fellow men and to animals. There should be equality and freedom to all and no such thing as compelling children to be taught certain forms of religion in which the parents did not believe.

MR. ASHLEY (Lancashire, Blackpool)

said that the Amendment of the hon. Member for the Brightside division of Sheffield should be supported, but with one proviso: that the parents who did not approve of the particular religious instruction given in the school should be able to withdraw their children in order that they might receive instruction elsewhere. What did this clause frankly say? It said that in every school, whether a board school or any other, the religious instruction was to be given out of school hours. That was a startling change, and he asked on what grounds it was proposed? It had been alleged that the present conscience clause had not given sufficient protection to the children of minorities and that the Nonconformists had, consequently, been put under disabilities. He did not think that had been so in the past; but supposing it had, surely under the new conditions all possibility of any injustice would be removed. It should be remembered that every school was to be under the control of the local education authority, who would be perfectly able to ensure that no child should be put in an invidious position by being withdrawn from religious instruction. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister for Education said on the First Reading of the Bill that no conscience clause was worth anything unless it carried with it the right to withdraw children from the schoolhouse during the time religious instruction was being given. He entirely disagreed with that, and the right hon. Gentleman had advanced no arguments in support of his assertion; therefore he could not see why they should change the conscience clause. Then the right hon. Gentleman went on to say that under this clause a child instead of being an object of obloquy would be an object of envy. Was that a thing to rejoice at? The right hon. Gentleman also said in the course of his speech that there was safety in the Hampshire syllabus, and he agreed that that was so. Everything went on very well in Hampshire, and no doubt if other county councils and local education authorities would follow the example set in Hampshire things would go on very well everywhere else. But what was the use of the Hampshire or any other syllabus at all until they had got the children into the school to learn the syllabus? The clause was not asked for by the Church of England, nor by the Roman Catholics, and he was quite sure that the majority of the Free Churches were in opposition to it. This was not a question of High Church or Low Church or of Free Church or State Church. To his mind the question which the clause raised was whether there should be religion in the schools or not. It had been said that if this clause were passed the parents who really desired their children to receive religious instruction would ensure its being given even if there was no religious instruction given in the school at all, and would give religious instruction to their children in their own homes or see that it was given. Of course that was so, and such parents in matters of religious education were above the law. They were not legislating for them, but for the great mass of parents who were indifferent. They were not legislating for the parent who was an atheist but for the parent who was indifferent. He asked the Committee to consider the state of a school after nine o'clock and during the time in which religious teaching was being given. The regular teachers would in many cases be absent and the different denominational teachers would come in and endeavour to instruct the children in their religious Catechism. These religious teachers would naturally not have the same influence over the children as the regular teachers, and meanwhile the scholars would be distracted by the shouts of the other children in the playground who were not receiving religious instruction. The clause, in his opinion, must be amended or ended. What did they ask? They only asked that religious teaching should be put on an equality with cooking or arithmetic—on an equality with secular education, and that it should have a recognised place in our system of education. It was quite obvious that, if this Bill were passed, while Jack would be helping his mother to wash up, Gill would be minding the baby in the parlour during the time that religious instruction was being given in the school. The fons et origo of the clause seemed to have been the experience which the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Education went through in his childhood; and from his own experience of his own childhood, he quite agreed as to the difficult position which a child would be in if told to object to being present whilst religious teaching was being given. Surely, however, that difficulty could be got over by the parent writing and objecting to his child being given any particular religious instruction. The right hon. Gentleman himself agreed that to exclude the opening prayer and hymn would be to run counter to the instincts of the nation, and he agreed with him. But why were these religious exercises to be put into such a secondary place? If arithmetic were not made a compulsory subject, how many children when they left school would be able to do a simple sum? In the same way, if religious in struction was not made compulsory in the future we should have few churches and chapels needed. If the Government were weathercocks in regard to this matter the country were not in the same position. It was true that the Government had voted against secular education but they had brought in this clause and left it an open question. If the clause were passed, it would, he was sure, inflict a deep and lasting injury upon the people of this country.

MR. MASTERMAN (West Ham, N.)

said a series of speeches had been directed against the clause as it originally stood. The last speaker had put the case most tersely and clearly in protesting against religion being put into a position in the schools different from arithmetic, geography, or any other form of secular instruction. But the claim of those who supported the clause was that religion at the present time occupied a position different from these forms of secular instruction, and that the conscience clause had for thirty-six years up to the present been frankly inoperative. They believed that it would be for the advantage of religion as well as of those who felt conscientious disabilities if some kind of freedom was substituted for coercion in the schools of the country. He was interested in the speech of the noble Lord the Member for East Marylebone and was not without hope that finally he might be found voting with them in favour of Clause 6, because he seemed to prefer the clause as it stood. To say that it was an affirmation of secular education was not true. He wished it was. They were not in the least trying to get secular education by any backdoor as had been suggested. The question be-been the liberty of the parent to choose religion or no religion for his child was perfectly different from the question whether the State should provide any kind of religious instruction at all. He was surprised at the speech of the hon. Member for East Mayo, because no compulsion was ever required towards Roman Catholic parents. Why did he interpose and try to place compulsion on other classes of people? This protection was wanted in rural districts, where the conscience clause had practically failed. It was also true of the non-provided schools in the great majority of the villages in England; otherwise, if there was no religious difficulty, he could not imagine what all this bother that they had been spending the summer over was about. If many of the children in the villages whose parents protested, still attended the schools and did not take advantage of the religious test then there was the less reason to apply fresh religious tests. One hon. Member had stated that although he objected to religious teaching being given to his children he declined to allow them to be put under the obligation of being put into a place separate and apart from the other children of the school during the time of religious instruction. To all children such a thing as that gave a sense of discomfort, and to a sensitive child it was torture. Therefore it was time that an advance should be made in the direction of religious freedom, that the children of those parents who desired it should be enabled to receive, so far as it was possible under the Bill, instruction in the various kinds of religion that they desired, and that those who did not desire it should be able to withdraw their children from the school during the period in which religious instruction was given. A very strong case had been made out on the words "child labour." Child labour had been mentioned, and the hon. Member for the Brightside Division of Sheffield had to a large extent grounded his appeal for the acceptance of this Amendment upon that particular question. Nobody deplored child labour more than he (Mr. Masterman) did, unless it were the hon. Member for North Camberwell. But this was not the way to deal with child labour. If the Committee had the courage and tenacity of its convictions anything in the nature of child labour before the hours of school attendance could easily be prohibited. They seemed, however, to be afraid of prohibition and tried to squeeze out child labour by providing theological alternatives. Child labour would never be squeezed out in that way; the only result would be to make children work earlier; to make them have less sleep, less playtime, and less time for breakfast, and it was no use to attempt to deal with the question in that way. He could not see, as had been suggested, that the new system would in any way result in the disorganisation of the schools. Parents would be asked whether their children should come for religious instruction OT not [Cries of. "No."] He thought that that was the way in which the local authorities would administer the Bill, and the children who wished to come would arrive at nine o'clock in the morning and arrangements would be made to have them taught at that hour. He did not gather that children would be allowed to come to school some at nine and some at five or ten minutes past in the same way as Members came into the House to listen to this debate. There would be no trace of compulsion. It would be brought about by means of peaceful persuasion at the hands either of the teacher or of the parent, and he conceived that every form of peaceful persuasion would be brought to bear upon the children to induce them to come at that hour. Then at 9.45 the secular business of the school would commence. The roll would be called. There would be no disorganisation and there was nothing in that system that the teachers need or would object to. It was a practical question of the enlargement of the scope of religious liberty which was not beyond the capacity of this House to decide in regard to the educational system which the local authorities of this country would have to administer. He knew that he approached this subject from a different point of view from that of many who sat upon the Liberal side of the House. He approached the subject from the point of view of one who objected to any kind of State religion He thought it monstrous and illiberal that a State religion should be manufactured by the schools, and more monstrous and more illiberal to say that every taxpayer or ratepayer should contribute towards the expense of that State religion; and most monstrous and most illiberal that every child of every parent should be obliged to attend the instruction in that religion. That was really what they were doing under a conscience clause which was ineffective. That gave him a right to appeal not only to the Free Churches, who would not be free if they consented to it, but also to Members on the opposite side of the House to vote against the elaboration of any particular form of religion to be taught in the State schools of this country. [An HON. MEMBER: It is Christianity.] Christianity if they liked, but there were a good many people who had conscientious objections to the teaching of Christianity; and he did not see how their consciences should be regarded as less sensitive than the consciences of others. That was at the bottom of the protest against Clause 6. It was an unequal judgment of the conscience of the poor in comparison with the conscience of other classes.

SIR WILLIAM ANSON (Oxford University)

said that the President of the Board of Education had stated with the utmost clearness the law as it now stood, but he could not entirely agree with his interpretation of the by-law which he had described as the Anson by-law. What the right hon. Gentleman had stated was not the intention of the by-law; it was not the meaning of it, and it could not bear the interpretation placed upon it. There was one objection to the bare rejection of the clause—that it would then be left in the discretion of the local authority, subject to the approval of the Board of Education, to order that the children should only be bound to attend school during the hours of secular instruction. Knowing what he did of the inclinations of some local authorities, and hearing what had been said by the Minister for Education he feared this might result in many cases in religious teaching being placed out of school hours. The Amendment of the hon. Member for the Bright-side Division of Sheffield practically put into a statutory form the commonly existing by-law and the common practice. The Amendment, as being in the line of the present practice, was preferable to the simple rejection of the clause and infinitely preferable to the acceptance of the clause as it stood. The alternative he preferred was that if the children were withdrawn it should only be on the understanding that they might receive religious instruction elsewhere. This was the substance of an Amendment put down by himself and by some hon. friends. The Minister for Education had told them frankly that his object was to put religious instruction out of school hours. They would thus throw aside the religious instruction which had gone on in the schools in one form or another since 1870. They had been told that the conscience clause had hitherto been ineffective and that this was to be a conscience clause of a higher form—a glorified conscience clause particularly favourable to the Nonconformist case. He had been surprised at the right hon. Gentleman's criticism of the ineffectiveness of the clause, having always previously heard it discussed from the point of view of its extreme imporance. Nonconformist children ought not now to be likely to suffer any hardship, for every school would be a council school, and the sort of religious teaching favoured by Nonconformists would be universally given, while the facilities under Clauses 3 and 4 could surely be so dealt with as not to harass the sensitive consciences of the Nonconformist children, who on all the days of the week would be receiving their own religious instruction. Much had been said in previous debates of the value of teaching fundamental Christianity. It now appeared that the Minister for Education's laudation of Cowper-Temple teaching meant not that anyone was to be required to receive it, but only that it was good enough to be paid for by everybody, whether they liked it or not. The Amendment which the hon. Member for Burnley moved to a previous clause was a straightforward Amendment proposing to keep religious teaching definitely out of school hours. Now they had what had been fairly and appropriately described as a back door settlement of this question. The Government had shut the front door boldly in the face of the straightforward Amendment. Now they opened the back door and stretched out both their hands to secular instruction, to encourage in their way the view that neither parent was bound to send nor child to attend religious instruction, nor any teacher bound to give it. In these circumstances, where no one need teach religion and no one need learn it, why could they not honestly say they wished to sever religion from education and set up a secular system? The Government had not the courage of their opinion, but he must have the courage of his. He maintained the immense advantage of commencing with prayer and religious teaching the education daily given in the public elementary schools. He believed the value of this system to be immense in rural areas, and incalculable in our large towns, where to many it was the only form of religious teaching to which the child ever listened. The Minister for Education incurred an immense responsibility when he struck this blow at the heart of the religious life of the country.

MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)

said he really thought the hon. Baronet might have left the conscience of the Government alone when he himself was prepared to vote in a sense contrary to that of the celebrated by-law bearing his name. The hon. Baronet himself was the author of the system which he condemned in Clause 6, and it was rather hard on his part to challenge the conscience of the Government on that matter. This was a subject upon which he (Mr. Channing) felt more deeply than upon any other subject which had come before them in regard to this Bill. He lamented that the discussions on this Bill had been so confined to the competing claims of rival sectarian bodies and that so little reference had been made to the interests of the children. Was it or was it not the interest of little children to be in the school at nine o'clock so that they should learn something in the earlier hours of the day when their faculties were fresh? Why should parents be encouraged to withdraw them in the early hours because of wretched religious squabbles? If there was any justification for the Bill it was because it was a generous, loyal effort to introduce peace into the schools, to create an atmosphere freed from sectarian passion where the education of the children could really be expanded. He was an opponent of Clause 6 because it was not the right way to seek peace to encourage the withdrawal of just those classes of children who most needed the higher influences. It was because it was a better way to secure peace that in furtherance of that object he most heartily supported the Amendment. He perfectly appreciated his right hon. friend's motives and supported his protest against the inefficiency of the conscience clause—he had more than once taken his share in vindicating the rights of parents under the conscience clause; but if passing this clause meant that the consciences of one or two parents would be satisfied; for one child who might be saved from hearing religious teaching from which its parents disapproved, might not hundreds of children be turned into child slaves? Why should they seek to destroy the discipline of the schools; and why should thousands of children lose the opportunity of getting in the freshness of the morning the teaching they ought to have, whether it were secular or religious? They had finally banished the one man power and had established public control over the schools, and therefore the bogey of religious oppression did not really any longer exist. He did not think that cases of religious persecution were likely to occur in the future. Having regard to the serious social results and the serious educational and moral wrecking among the slum children of our great towns that would result from the worst class of parents withdrawing their children during the time religious instruction was being given, he hoped the Committee would not adopt the clause. Many years ago he took an active part as one of its founders in the work of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and he sat for some years upon the Law Committee which dealt with, cases of cruelty to children Like others in that House, he had sat on the Committee which passed the Employment of Children Bill and studied the terrible evidence of the labour of school children out of school hours on which it was based. The interests of hundreds and thousands of children were affected and they could not be set aside as they would be by this Clause. He had received a letter from a lady who was one of the leading social reformers in Liverpool, and who had been, for many years on the school authorities, giving her opinion as to the result this clause would have upon the, slum population. She wrote— In Liverpool the careles3 and vicious parent, far outnumbers the parent with a conscientious objection to some form of denominatioual teaching. Unless the children are obliged to be in school, at the same time, some will evade school, or move from school to school. In the lower parts of the town it would be useless to open the council schools at all till 9.45, the only schools that would have any religious or moral teaching, would be the Catholic, who would probably get their children at 9 a.m. We could not.…I much hope tha we may continue our present arrangement if finally shutting all the school doors in Liverpool at 9 a.m. Often parents were negligent of the highest interests of their children, whom they regarded more as drudges to earn for them a few extra pence to enable them to eke out their own sordid and often immoral lives. It was the duty of the Committee to protect the child life of the country, and he asked them to pause before they accepted a Clause like this. He appealed also to the Labour Members to look upon this from the point of view of labour, for surely they did not wish to see child life crushed down by the demand for early labour. Surely they would feel their obligation to resist in some way the competition of child labour with adult labour in the labour market. On these grounds he hoped the Committee, would accept the Amendment

MR. MIDDLEMORE (Birmingham, N.)

saw no necessity for the clause to meet a religious difficulty. It was an invitation to children to barter their religious teaching for half an hour's play. Slum children had no chance of religious teaching in their homes and surroundings. He did not see any reason for this clause at all. He had not seen any religious difficulty worth speaking of in any denominational school. He knew there was no such difficulty in the case of his own village. He was himself an employer of dissenters, and he had gone so far as to offer to facilitate their views, and they had told him that they had no views to facilitate. This clause seemed to him to have for its object the gradual abolition of religious teaching in the schools of the poor. The rich man could retain his schools just because he was rich, but the poor man had to sacrifice his religious teaching simply because he was poor and for no other reason. The clause would make poverty a new religious disability. ["Why?"] If they wished to deprive the children of their religious education let them toe the line and do it frankly and openly themselves, but they should not in this indirect way invite the children to be the agents of their own undoing. There ought to be no mistake whatever about this question. A slum child had no chance at all of getting any religious education in its own home and surroundings. The President of the Local Government Board on one occasion spoke of 200,000 children living with their parents in single rooms. Those children could not get religious instruction in the pandemonium in which they lived; and they were not sent to the Sunday schools. Religious instruction in the day school was their only chance. He asked hon. Members to think of the state of things in common lodging-houses. [Laughter.] It was his weekly task to visit such houses, and he knew quite as much about them as the hon Member who jeered. No form of home religion was possible in the overcrowded bedrooms and common rooms of lodging-houses. The children must have worship at school, or they would have no worship at all. Did the Committee wish this arrangement made in a country which was called Christian? It was nothing short of folly—it was hardly honest—to tell them that these children would get instruction either in their own homes or at the Sunday school. What he and his friends pleaded for was half an hour's religious instruction a day for the children attending the day school, because it was their only chance of receiving such instruction. He did not wish the children to be taken away from that instruction to play marbles. This clause introduced a new condition in the country—namely, elementary schools without religion. All he could say was, God help the children and save them from being sacrificed to political alliances—from being made the pawns in the Party game. They were made for better things, and he only hoped that the Imperial Parliament would do nothing to tamper with the religious purpose of their lives.

DR. MACNAMARA (Camberwell, N.)

said this was a matter to which he had given great consideration because he recognised that it was of far reaching importance. There was really very much confusion of thought as to the existing state of the law. He was therefore very much obliged to the President of the Board of Education for the statement he made at the outset. The right hon. Gentleman correctly stated that Section 14 of of the Act of 1870 said to the parents—"You must bring your child to school at nine o'clock when the school opens; if you do not want religious instruction provided your child can stand aside, and the local authority—the school board that was—will provide secular instruction for the child in the meantime." Then the right hon. Gentleman said he was greatly surprised that the conscience clause had not operated to a greater extent than it had done, and he gave some reasons for that. He himself thought that the main reason why the conscience clause in the Act of 1870 had failed was that the parents thought their children were perfectly safe in the hands of the teachers, just as most hon. Members did in regard to their children. If these debates went on long enough he felt that he should be obliged to interfere in some way with the religious teaching which his children were getting at the present time. What it precisely was he could not say, and he hoped no one would say that he had not a keen regard for their welfare. No doubt another reason was that parents naturally shrank from exposing their children to the invidiousness of standing out. These two reasons formed the main grounds for the failure of the conscience clause. Although the attendance of the child was compulsory, they had never gone the length of prosecuting any working man because he had not sent his child to school until the close of the religious lesson. That was the law down to four years ago when it was very materially widened. In 1903 the hon. Member for Oxford University introduced a by-law, known as the "Anson" by-law. He was sure that the hon. baronet would not intentionally mislead the Committee, but he nevertheless had effectually done so in his references to this by-law. It was in the following terms— The time during which every child shall attend school shall be the whole time for which the school selected shall be open for the instruction of children of similar age, provided that, where the parent has notified to the managers in writing his intention to withdraw the child from instruction in religious subjects, such time shall be the whole time for which the school selected shall be open for secular instruction only.


If the hon. Member will read the note, he will see exactly the object with which the bylaw was offered to, not imposed upon, the local authorities for their consideration.


said the note was as follows— This proviso may be added in cases where the local education authority are satisfied that the circumstances of the locality justify its adoption in order to meet the wishes of parents who may desire to make arrangements for religious instruction for their children elsewhere than at school. No doubt that was the intention, but the Board of Education had passed this by-law in a large number of cases without any such proviso. If the Government was to be charged with setting up what the noble Lord the Member for East Marylebone would describe as the ultimate cataclysm of secularism, it did not lie with the late Government, which originally laid down that by-law when the hon. Baronet was Parliamentary Secretary, to make the charge. What had been the result of the by-law? No less than thirty-seven counties, eight county boroughs, thirty-six non-county boroughs, and thirteen urban districts—ninety-four in all—in the short period of three years had put the Anson by-law into operation. He did not know that anything very terrible had happened in those areas. He had not heard that there had been an increase in child labour or that a large number of children had been withdrawn from religious teaching. His point was that the by-law was embodied in Clause 6 of the present Bill, and if there was to be a cataclysm of secularism the hon. Baronet opposite was responsible and not the present Government.


Has the hon. Gentleman any reason to suppose that the by-law has not answered the purpose for which it was issued?


We are really getting into a discussion about the by-law which, except in so far as it has a bearing upon the Amendment to the clause, has nothing to do with this, discussion.


said his point was that the justification of Clause 6 lay in the Anson by-law. He wanted the children to be taught the Bible, but he was doubtful whether they ought to be compelled to attend, especially under the new circumstances which this Bill would set up. There was some confusion of thought on the part of those who said that unless the children attended the religious lesson they would not get any religious teaching at all. Nothing could, be more wide of the mark. If the religious lessons were stopped to-morrow, the children would get a good deal of sound, useful, religious teaching. He had been a pupil teacher, assistant teacher, and head teacher, for twenty years, and he knew that by far the most fruitful lessons were those which arose incidentally from time to time outside the formal Bible lesson. The Bible lesson consisted of Bible history, incidents, and names, to a large extent, and could not have much of real moral value in it. The hon. Member for East Mayo had spoken as if in the new Education Code he had found a new and strange system of moral teaching set up. There was no discovery at all. This was not the first time that moral teaching had been made an injunction on teachers. It was said in the new Code— They (the teachers) can teach them what is noble, to be ready and self-sacrificing, and to strive their utmost after purity and truth. Was not that religious teaching? All this was elaborated into a moral code in the Code issued that morning. The hon. Gentleman admitted that that was a most admirable elaboration, but he overlooked the fact that the teachers were specially enjoined to notice that— The scope of such lessons should be carefully defined in order to guard against doing or expressing anything in the least subversive of the authority of religion. He admitted that compulsion to attend school at religious instruction had, subject to the conscience clause, been the practice ever since 1870, although it was modified three years ago. Why had they been able successfully to compel the parents to send their children to school? The thing was entirely in the hands of the permanent school teachers, who were very discreet, very circumspect, and who used infinite good judgment. Had it not been for that discretion, circumspection, and good judgment there would have been a social revolution long ago. The teachers did not press denominational views, even in denominational schools where they knew the children were Nonconformists, so that by their good judgment compulsion had been made possible But now they were starting a new system under which in every denominational school, on two mornings a week, they were going to have specific denominational teaching by others than the permanent teachers—by the clergymen, and the curates whose real purpose and intention must be to exalt and exaggerate what he would call the sectarian side of denominational religious teaching. Did the Committee think that in that case, with outside teachers necessarily inspired with this particular purpose of giving the teaching a special denominational turn—and he had not a word to say against them—did the Committee think that they could continue the system of compulsion? He was perfectly confident that they could not successfully do it. Under the Irish system, where they had Roman Catholic teaching every day in the week, it was specially laid down that the Protestant children should not be present. If it were true that they could not do it on two days in the week by outsiders who might be indiscreet, how much less could they do it every morning in the week! For all these considerations he was bound, notwithstanding the fact that he sympathised with the hon. Member for the Brightside Division, to support Clause 6 of the Bill.

MR. BRACE (Glamorganshire, S.)

said that this was the first occasion on which he had ventured to intervene in the debates on the Education Bill, and he would not have done so now had it not been for the misunderstanding or misconception of the real position taken up by himself and others who supported Clause 6. It was true that a number of Labour Members had gone into the lobby in support of a purely secular education, but it was not because they were anti-religionists or because they did not believe in Bible teaching. Most of them spent their Sundays in endeavouring to teach the Bible in Sunday schools, and it was a mistake to say that they were not in direct sympathy with giving religious instruction to children. He supported Clause 6 as it stood, because he accepted it as the charter of freedom and liberty of conscience. They had heard a good deal about the rights of the minorities; indeed there had been a good deal of special pleading for the rights of minorities; but now they were asked to say that the minorities should have no rights, that it should be compulsory on the parents to send their children to school during the hour of religious instruction. The object of Clause 6 was to place the children in exactly the same position as the teachers. He knew something of the working classes of the country; he was a workman himself and the son of a workman, and when he heard hon. Gentlemen speak as they had done regarding the attitude of parents towards religious teaching it showed that those Members did not quite understand the problems they were discussing. He pleaded for Clause 6 as it stood, and he was sorry the Government had not come before the Committee supporting the clause with all the weight of a united Cabinet behind it. At the same time as there were a number of people in the country who had conscientious objections to certain forms of teaching, it was the duty of this House to protect them.

MR. J. M. ROBERTSON (Northumberland, Tyneside)

said it had been very clear during the debate what the motives were which inspired opposition against Clause 6. A large number of hon. Members disavowed the very plea on which they founded their objection to the secular Amendment. They were now told that a great majority were absolutely opposed to secular instruction, and yet they said they had no faith in the children being sent to school for religious teaching unless they were compelled. His contention was that Clause 6 was the one Clause in the Bill that carried the issue in the right direction. It was almost the one truly liberal clause in the Bill. He thought he knew something about theology, but when he came to this House as a politician he found himself in a Sanhedrim of amateur theologians in which the Bill was discussed less on political than on religious grounds. There was one exception, but of what value was that? It was said that there would be new facilities given, or new inducements to child labour. If that were true, it was an extremely important consideration; but what effort had been made by hon. Gentlemen who took up that position to give the Committee anything in the nature of political or statistical information on the subject? What did they, as politicians, know of what was happening in the matter of child labour, or of the real value of religious instruction in the schools? If they wanted to discuss the question of under-feeding they appointed a Committee or Commission to make inquiries; but had anybody proposed to appoint a Commission to inquire into the actual results of the instruction which had been given in schools on religious lines for the last 100 years? If a great majority of the Members of this House had been born in a Mohammedan country they themselves would have been Mohammedans. Nobody could dispute that. For instance, the noble Lord the Member for East Marylebone would have been the most devout of Mullahs, and he believed the hon. Member for West Ham, despite his very pronounced ethical bias, to which he desired to pay a tribute, would have been very practically ethical on the lines of a good child of Islam. The beliefs which figured upon the floor of the House were political beliefs, but some hon. Members had given them confessions of faith. He respectfully deprecated all confessions of faith in that Assembly, as such confessions on the part of hon. Members holding positive forms of creed would justify countervailing ethical assertions, and yet how offensive those would be considered by hon. Members who were always giving them the assurances of their faith. He regretted I that his hon. friend the Member for Leicester had given himself a certificate of spirituality in this matter, because they were not there to decide upon matters of spirituality. Surely they were present not as theologians but as politicians to decide these questions on political grounds. Clause 6 had the merit of being drawn on political grounds, and the only political consideration urged against it was that advanced by the hon. Member for Northampton, that it would not guard the children against the tendency of the worst class of parents to take their children from school and set them to work. Yet the conscience clause had not been taken advantage of for this purpose, and the worst class of parents were, in a variety of ways, under the influence of the Church missions. The opponents of the clause were trying to refuse one kind of political freedom to one of the best classes of parents. The Sermon on the Mount had been alluded to, and he would remind the Committee, therefore, that the noble Lord the Member for East Marylebone, on a previous occasion, had said—a wonderful effort of tolerance—that he did not object to that, but that such teaching was absolutely worthless from the point of view of Christianity.


thought the hon. Member was not quite fair. The point he had discussed was how far Christian faith was taught in the schools, and he had said that as a definition of Christian faith the Sermon on the Mount was not sufficient, although he might have used stronger words.


said what the noble Lord wanted was not moral teaching in the schools, but dogmatic teaching.


said he wanted both—Christian faith and conduct.


asked whose fault it was that education in this country was backward? For at least 100 years all education had been kept back by the constant action of the Church of England. The Church of England had been the stone in the wool. In any country where there was a clearly dominant church, there education was backward relatively with other countries.


said the hon. Member was not speaking either to the Amendment or to the clause.


said he would drop that argument as far as he could and would confine himself to the Amendment and the clause. He wished to express his regret at the loss the House had sustained by the death of Sir Wilfrid Lawson, who had voted for the secular Amendment, and declared that the right way out of the theological wrangle, which was going on over the schools of this country, was to introduce secular education.

While the hon. Member was proceeding with his argument Mr. BELLOC (Salford, S.) on his way to his seat, passed between the hon. Member and the Chairman amidst cries of "order."


Order, order. I must explain to hon. Members that when any Member is speaking on the first or second bench, they must not cross between the hon. Member and the Chair.


I must apologise to the Committee for my ignorance of its rules.


said that Clause 6 would save the country from the tyrannous consequences which would flow from this Bill under the facilities given by Clause 4. In a considerable number of schools there would in consequence of those facilities be no escape from absolutely dogmatic teaching save by way of Clause 6. Dogmatic teaching might be right or wrong. The Committee was not permitted to express any opinion upon that, but it was not education. Education consisted in the eliciting of the powers of a child's mind and teaching it how to use its reason. Therefore dogmatic teaching was non-educational teaching, while Clause 6 was primarily an educational clause. He ventured to deprecate the unfortunate line which had been taken by the hon Member for East Mayo, who, while he backed up the right of parents to settle for themselves the education of their children in regard to members of his own faith, now came forward with a suggestion to disregard the rights of other parents, and to interfere with their rights. What was the value of the moral teaching given in the fashion which the hon. Member wished it to be given, if the child was to be taunted and mocked at by the very people who were giving it? It had been suggested by some who supported the Amendment that it would be possible so to arrange that the children who were withheld from the religious teaching might get secular teaching during that time. But how would that operate? How had it operated in the past? The right hon. Gentleman the Minister for Education had indicated his knowledge of a number of cases. In his opinion the secular teaching given to the withdrawn child was a species of teaching that was repellant to the child and not meant to carry on his secular education in any way. And he could quite understand that; because if it was thought that the withdrawn child was gaining three-fourths of an hour's secular teaching beyond that which was given to the other children, the parents of the other children would at once complain that their children were losing that education which was given to the withdrawn child. So that any secular system of that kind would have the effect of creating teaching which was objectionable and repellant. Those who supported Clause 6 did so because they held with the right hon. Gentleman that it was essential. In the opinion of masses of people in this country "clericalism is the enemy," and he felt that the more strongly when he saw the hon. Member for East Mayo showing a disposition to join the other forces in this House to curtail the liberty of the layman. The hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary had adopted the phrase "clericalism is the enemy." But that phrase did not mean that the clergy were the enemy. It did not mean that every clergyman was an enemy. The word clericalism was an intensive term, and meant the domination of the clerical influence and the clerical spirit over the lay spirit. He hoped most Members of the House did protest against clericalism in that sense. It was because he protested against it in that sense that he supported the Amendment.

MR. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London)

said the two preceding speakers were among those who desired to see established in this country a purely secular system of education, and they, therefore, naturally supported Clause 6 in its present shape, and it certainly harmonised with the views they had laid before the Committee. But he confessed he had not been impressed by the strength of the arguments they had put forward. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had discovered two facts which rather startled him. The first was that the great enemy for 100 years to the cause of popular education in this country had been the Church of England—a statement which seemed to be belied by every passage in the history of the country. Any human being who looked into that history could see that the Church of England in the last 100 years, like the Church of Scotland in preceding centuries, had been the pioneer in the work of popular education, and had in that cause made infinite sacrifices, both pecuniary and other. Another discovery the hon. Gentleman had made had as little foundation in fact. It was that this Amendment was intended to help, and would have the effect of helping, the Church of England as distinguished from other denominations and other forms of religious teaching. The hon. Gentleman knew that the noble Lord the Member for East Mary-lebone bitterly complained that the clause compelled Cowper-Temple teaching, and excluded the teaching of the Church of England and the Church of Rome. He thought his hon. friend had rather exaggerated his case, because the Amendment did not apply to Cowper-Temple teaching alone, but it did compel the attendance of children for Cowper-Temple teaching in what were now voluntary schools, on three days out of the five. How the hon. Gentlemen with these facts staring him in the face could tell the Committee that an Amendment moved by a Nonconformist Member on the other side of the House was an Amendment intended to bolster up the teaching of the Church of England and the Church of Rome passed his comprehension. The hon. Gentleman had drawn a distinction, the value of which he could not apprehend, between political considerations and other considerations, and he had told the Committee that if they had been born in a Mohammedan country they would all have been Mohammedans, or if they had been born in a Bhuddist country they would all have been Bhuddists. The hon. Gentleman must carry that reasoning very much further if he adopted it at all. He advocated the teaching of morals in the schools as opposed to religion. If the hon. Gentleman had been born in a different century and in a different country his morality might not have been of the high type it was now. He must extend his argument to secular education, because had he had the misfortune to have been born in a less enlightened century and a less enlightened country, his views would have been at variance with those which he inculcated on the generation in which he happened to have been born. The hon. Gentleman would forgive him for putting aside the whole of that portion of his argument. He had asked, and the hon. Member for Mid. Glamorgan had also used the argument, why they wanted to compel children to attend religious instruction, seeing that they told them that the mind of the country was made up that religion should not be banished from the schools. If the parents really took this strong view on religion, they argued they did not require any compulsion for their children to attend religious instruction. They valued religion, and that was a sufficient guarantee that the children would attend even if no compulsion was placed upon them. That was the argument, and hon. Gentlemen who used it must remember that when they talked in England of the country desiring a certain thing they meant the majority of the country. Nobody denied that there might be parents who objected to religious teaching altogether—careless, selfish parents, parents who were indifferent and did not consider what was best for their children. Were they to leave those classes altogether uncared for? By this clause such parents would be allowed to have an option. The argument of the hon. Gentleman was clearly opposed to the policy adopted for secular education. The parents in this country were not allowed to say that their children should not have secular education. They were compelled to send their children to school. They could not be trusted not to allow selfishness, carelessness, indifference, and other things to stand in the way of the education of their children. The opponents of the clause based their argument on that. What was good for secular education was equally good for religious education. What they objected to was that by drawing distinctions between the two classes of education they would discredit in the eyes of the parents and in the public opinion of the country that part of education to which hon. Gentlemen opposite refused to apply that compulsion which they felt justified in applying to the other half of the educational system. The hon. Member for North Camberwell approached the same topic from a wholly different point of view, and advanced an argument which, he thought, was new in the debate. If he understood the hon. Gentleman, his point was that compulsion in matters of religion was tolerable so long as the system was in existence which this Bill would upset; and it was tolerable because it was carried out by the elementary teachers. But now that that system was to be upset, now that elementary teachers were not to be allowed to deal with religion, now that it was to be handed over to the clergy of the various denominations, they would have a wholly new influence imported. They would find that the priest or the Nonconformist minister would take such an exaggerated view of those things which divided Christians that the whole religious harmony of a district, which could only be preserved if religion was taught by the teacher in the school, would be lost. He thought the hon. Gentleman would admit that that was a fair statement of his argument. With the conclusion that was to be derived from the speech of the hon. Member for North Camberwell—namely, that the teacher should be allowed to give the religious instruction—he was in entire agreement. He did not share the hon. Gentleman's apprehension of a great increase insectarian bitterness should the clergyman be forced to come into the school to give religious instruction. But he agreed that in the circumstances it was best that the religious instruction, whether denominational or undenominational, should be given by the teacher, who was responsible for the discipline of the school and understood the art of teaching, which was an entirely different matter from the science of theology. The Minister for Education had left the clause to the Committee. For that proceeding there were examples, but it was not usual, and was only justified in the case of a question about which there was a strong difference of opinion in the Cabinet or among the supporters of the Government. But, though the right hon. Gentleman had left the question to the Committee, he had not concealed his own emphatic opinion in favour of the clause as it stood. The argument upon which the right hon. Gentleman really rested his defence of the clause was that of freedom of conscience. The hon. Member for the Louth Division of Lincolnshire took the same line, but in their development of the same argument they absolutely contradicted each other. The Minister for Education had said that to compel the minority in a school—presumably Nonconformists—to attend during the time of religious instruction, and then to require from the teacher differential treatment for them was to put the unfortunate children in a position which was cruel to those of sensitive minds, who dreaded being marked out from the rest of their schoolmates. But the argument of the hon. Member for the Louth Division was that while in the schools which he knew best, where the great mass of the children we Nonconformists, the majority would not press hardly upon the Church minority, in schools of another class the tyrannical squire or the intolerant parson would make the lives of Nonconformist parents a burden so bitter that they would not dare to obtain for their children that religious instruction which, left to themselves, they would naturally secure.


said the point he had tried to bring out was that, owing to the operation of Clause 3, national schools in Lincolnshire would have so strong a clerical atmosphere as to compel Nonconformist children attending them to adapt themselves to their form of religious teaching.


What a Compliment to the Act of 1902! These evils which under the Act of 1902 were either avoided or reduced to relative insignificance were all brought back to full activity by Clause 3 of this Bill! The hon. Member for the Louth Division appeared to hold the view, which had been publicly expressed by Dr. Clifford or some other eminent Nonconformist Divine, that this Bill was far more clerical than the Act of 1902. When he remembered that there was to be compulsory Cowper-Temple teaching every day of the week in schools attended by Nonconformist majorities, he must say that that was an opinion rather unjust to the Bill. It was not his business to defend the Bill, but he thought the time had come when the right hon. Gentleman should obtain justice even from his friends. It had been pointed out that in the county council schools the question of conscience never came up, and that the idea that the denominational minorities attending them were oppressed was a complete delusion. The same thing was exactly true of voluntary schools. There was no conscience difficulty in these schools. In truth, the idea that the minority of children in the one class of school or the other was going to be made miserable lad no foundation in fact, and ought not to be allowed to influence the decision of the Committee in regard to the clause. He could not conceive how hon. Members opposite who believed in religious instruction forming part of the country's national system of education could consistently vote against the Amendment. How was it possible for them to defend their view of the position which religion should hold in elementary education if they drew a distinction between secular and religious subjects, and said that, while the teaching of the first must be compulsory, the teaching of the other must be voluntary? Such an attitude would inevitably lead to the destruction of that blending of religion with education which for forty years the strongest efforts of the House had been directed to make an indestructible part of the social life of the people. The Members of the House who believed in a purely secular system of education were a small minority. Every other section of the House, undenominational or denominational, so long as they were in favour of religious teaching in the schools, were bound to support the Amendment. He found it difficult to believe that any Member who voted against the Amendment either fully understood its consequences or really entertained the view that religion was a necessary element of national welfare, and consequently should form part of the elementary education of the children of the country.

MR. H. R. MANSFIELD (Lincolnshire Spalding)

said he was afraid that Members from Ireland who supported the Amendment had lost sight of the fact that there were hundreds of rural villages in England in which there were no Roman Catholic schools, and that the clause would be a distinct help to the Catholics residing in such villages. Under present conditions Catholics so situated were forced to take the Anglican teaching or occupy an invidious position under the conscience clause. But under Clause 6 they would be able to keep their children from school during the hour of religious instruction. He was astonished that the Anglican section of the community did not welcome Clause 6. In view of what had been said in the course of the debates respecting Cowper-Temple teaching, he would have thought that those who objected to that form of instruction would have been glad of the opportunity which the clause would secure to them of preventing their children receiving it. Speaking on behalf of the agricultural labourers, many of whom lived in his constituency, he said that many labourers were Nonconformists, but such men were without the powerful organisations which Anglican and Catholics had behind them to investigate their grievances. The Nonconformist labourer was weak, and his views were often inarticulate, although his religion was to him as dear as—and probably much dearer—than was the religion of the dweller in the town to him. His chances of success in life were practically nil, and if he was a religious man he looked forward to another life in which things might be more equal. Being often of the same religion as his father, he desired that his children should be of the same religion as himself. Up to the present he had been under the operation of the conscience clause. If Clause 6 were eliminated he would be driven back upon that. He believed that would be a calamity. He had nothing to say against the conscience clause except that it had been of no use. He once spoke in a village school, and when he had finished the clergyman and the schoolmaster pointed out to him high up on the wall a dirty placard which turned out to be a copy of the conscience clause. He said at the time that it seemed to him that no one had ever read it, and he was told that there was no religious difficulty in that village. The fact was children did not like to be put in an invidious position; and under that clause parents were often put in not only an invidious but a dangerous position. The children had first to bear the brunt, and if the father chose to over-ride the child and stand by the conscience clause, then he himself had very often to run the gauntlet. It was all very well to say that these tyrannical employers did not exist, but they did, and men had now often to pay the price of their convictions, and if they asked for the operation of the present conscience clause they had to pay a price which they were little able to bear. He agreed with the Minister for Education that no conscience clause was worth anything unless it carried with it the right to withdraw a child during the time of religious instruction. They asked for Clause 6 as it stood, because they felt that it brought freedom for the Anglican against simple Bible teaching, freedom for the Catholic against Protestant teaching, freedom for the Nonconformist against sectarian teaching, and freedom for the secularist against any religious teaching at all. It was because they believed it paved the way for freedom that they wanted to adhere to the clause as it stood. The hon. Member for the Basingstoke Division had said that Clause 4 was jerrymandered by the Nonconformist in the interest of the Roman Catholics. This was not so; the Nonconformist did not like and did not want Clause 4. Hon. Members opposite ought not to speak of jerrymandering after that exhibition of it which was given in the wear and tear Amendment. He thought that the only people in danger of jerrymandering were the parents. The rights of the parent had been put forward in aid of denominational teaching, but now that the whole matter was proposed to be left to the parent they were being told that Parliament must decide the matter. They did not think that the parent had a right to demand a certain teaching, but they did say that he had a right to say that he would not have some other teaching. They asked that the parents should have liberty in this matter; if there was to be any Compulsion of the child it ought to be the direct act of the parent and not of the State. He hoped the Committee would stand by this clause. They were asking for justice to the agricultural and other labourers, and he trusted there would be an overwhelming vote in favour of freedom to all classes and sections of the community, which would be secured by leaving this question of religion for the parents-themselves to decide.

MR SAMUEL ROBERTS (Sheffield, Ecclesall),

in supporting the Amendment, said the question appeared to him to be whether religious instruction was to continue to be compulsory during school hours. He represented a city where the Act of 1902 had been a very great success, because both political Parties made up their minds to lay aside their religious differences and work for the benefit of the children alone. The result was that good feeling had prevailed between the education committee and the managers of voluntary schools. He had asked the Archdeacon of Sheffield what would be the result in the voluntary schools if Clause 6 were carried, and he had replied that by taking religious teaching outside school hours and leaving it optional they were doing a cruel injury to the children of careless parents whose children needed religious instruction most. The Archdeacon further stated that by this clause they would be putting a premium upon non-attendance; that parents would be tempted to keep their boys at home to work and girls would be wanted at home by their mothers; and the children would prefer to play. The result would be that the bulk of the children would never learn any religion at all. What had happened in America? There pressure was brought to bear on account of sectarian animosities and denominational teaching was taken away from the schools. Pari passu with this the attendance at the Sunday schools in America dropped off. The President of the Board of Education said he wanted to make the conscience clause a reality. It had been a reality. The children had not been withdrawn from the schools during religious instruction because they had no real reason for withdrawing them. From inquiries made of the teachers in the thirty-five voluntary Church schools of Sheffield—many of whom had been in the schools for thirty or forty years—as to whether children had been withdrawn during their terms of office it appeared that, with the exception of a few Jews, not a single child had been withdrawn. The Minister for Education said it was possible that the parents did not withdraw their children because they did not wish to place them in an invidious position. Surely the conscience of a parent could not be very sensitive if that were allowed to stand in the way of withdrawing a child from the religious instruction. A former Member of this House who sat on the Opposition side in the last Parliament said to him the other day— The House of Commons is engaged in seeing what is the minimum of religious education that may be given in the schools. Though our Master said, 'Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,' you are trying how little you can teach to the children who are afterwards to be the manhood and womanhood of England.

MR. ROGERS (Wiltshire, Devizes)

said that since the passing of the Act of 1902 he had been engaged one day a week in the working of the Act in his own county. He felt that Clause 6 raised an exceedingly important question from the point of view of administration. The working out of this Bill when it became law would devolve entirely on the local authorities, and he submitted that nothing should be done to make it more difficult for them to carry out the important and arduous duties with which they were entrusted. He disliked Clause 6 because it said that religious instruction was to be outside of school hours, and that it was to form no part of the normal life of the day schools. He submitted that that was not in accordance with the scheme of the Government. The Bill, as he understood it, was based on the principle of undenominationalism, He had heard a number of speeches from the Treasury Bench defending the Bill on the lines of simple Bible teaching. It seemed to him that if it was right to instigate and encourage a local authority to give simple Bible teaching power ought to be given to make that teaching part of the normal curriculum of the school. Under Clause 6 they were not doing that. It was left entirely an open matter. From the point of view of the discipline of the school he could not disguise from himself the strong conviction that the effect of making the religious teaching outside the school hours would be that the children would come in between nine o'clock and a quarter to ten in irregular batches. That would utterly destroy the common life of the school during the three quarters of an hour, and if the children came in from time to time it would be impossible for the teacher to give them proper instruction. The alternative was to make the children stay outside the school till a quarter to ten. In the case of village schools to which the children came long distances it would be to keep them outside until the first lesson was over. From the point of view of discipline, therefore, Clause 6 would not be an improvement. Having the greatest possible sympathy with the principle of religious freedom, he did not think the present conscience clause had worked in a satisfactory manner in the great majority of cases. If a Nonconformist child was withdrawn from the ordinary religious teaching and given the multiplication table to learn in the corner of the classroom, that was an invidious and detestable position in which to put a small child. The way to make the clause effective was to allow the children to be withdrawn not only from the class but also from the premises. He thought that trouble had come because under the Act of 1870 the conscience clause was interpreted as only allowing withdrawal from the class and not from the premises. There were exceptions to that at the present time. Under the by-law children were withdrawn from the school premises, provided that their parents asked permission in writing. So far as he was aware, the local authority had not insisted on any form of religious instruction being given by the parents. He thought it would be impossible for any local authority to follow a child to its home, or to cross-examine a child as to what it was doing during the time it was withdrawn. There were schools which had so few rooms that there was no place in which a child could be put when withdrawn from religious instruction. He contended that it should be possible to withdraw the children from the premises as well as from the class if proper protection was to be given. It was obvious that under the new Bill the conscience clause would not be required in so many cases as hitherto. If a parent desired to withdraw his child from a Church school where teaching was of a particular character, there would always be the alternative of Cowper-Temple teaching, and he did not anticipate that there would be the same urgency for the operations of the conscience clause in future. If his hon. friend the Member for the Brightside Division could see his way to add to his Amendment some Amendment on the lines of the one of which he himself had given notice he thought it would meet the case.† He was not inclined † The Amendment referred to was to add at the end of the Amendment under discussion, "and provided that when a parent has notified to the managers in writing his intention to withdraw the child from the schoolhouse during the time allotted to such religious observation or instruction, he shall not be under any obligation to cause the child to attend at such schoolhouse, except during the times allotted in the time-table exclusively to secular instruction.' to think that the question of child labour was very much more than a bogey. If it was more than that it ought to be dealt with by legislation passed for the regulation of the employment of children. If a parent was put under the obligation of writing to the local authority claiming exemption for his child on conscientious grounds, he did not fancy a parent would do that in order to get his child put to work. He was certain that a conscientious objection would only be taken by a parent who felt strongly on the subject. He thought the clause as it stood was a danger to discipline and would hamper the local education authority in maintaining the efficiency of its education. He believed the local education authority should have the opportunity of making religious instruction part of the normal life of the school.

MR. G. GREENWOOD (Peterborough)

said they were all agreed in wanting to see a final settlement of this question, so far as there could be finality in mundane affairs. Above all, they were agreed in wishing to see an end of those deplorable disputes and controversies concerning dogma and doctrine which were an injury to the great cause of national education which they all had at heart or which they all professed to have at heart. But they would never see that finality, that end to disputes and controversies unless the question was settled on sound and intelligible principles—principles that would secure that strict and impartial justice was meted out to every section of the community so that no majority would be able to oppress any minority in the country however numerically insignificant that minority might be. What was the principle for which the passive resisters had been so long and strenuously contending? It was that no man ought to be compelled by law to pay for the support of any religious teaching to which he was conscientiously opposed. That seemed to him a most admirable principle, and should be taken as a first principle in this matter. It seemed to him an odious thing to use all the powers of the State to coerce a man to pay for religious teaching of which he conscientiously disapproved. But if he was right in that, what was the result? We had now quartered all our public elementary schools comfortably on the rates and taxes, and the State levied rates and taxes with the most sublime impartiality from every citizen, without asking him what was his religious belief, or even if he had any religious belief at all. What would happen when this Bill became law? They would be taxing thousands of their fellow-countrymen in order to compel them to pay for religious teaching of which they disap-approved, in direct violation of the principle which he had ventured to lay down, the principle for which the passive resisters had contended, and every passive resister who—he did not say supported this Bill, because the Bill was an immense improvement on the Act of 1902—but who actively supported the teaching of religion in State schools at public expense, would show that, consciously or unconsciously, he had been only fighting for his own hand, and was now ready to throw on others the very burden against which he had so loudly protested when it was laid on his own shoulders. They had heard a great deal from the benches opposite about the right of parents. It was said that a parent had a right to have his children brought up in his own religion. That came rather remarkably from the Party which, for a quarter of a century, had opposed, tooth and nail, the enactment of a conscience clause, and had said in effect to every parent in rural districts "You must send your children to Church schools to be educated in the doctrines of the Church of England, unless you are content to leave them without any secular education at all." A parent had a right to bring up his children in his own religion, but he had not a right to demand that his children should be educated in any religion he pleased at the State expense, otherwise this country would have to embark in a gigantic system of concurrent endowment which would embrace not only all forms and varieties of Christianity, but which must also in justice comprehend many other shades and varieties of faith not excluding the ethical societies. The parent had no right to demand that his child should be brought up in any religion he chose at the State expense. The only right of the parent in this connection was that his children should not be taught in the State school any religion of which he disapproved. The case was put admirably by the present Secretary for India in a book published in 1873 on National: education— The answer was simple and obvious. Parents have an inalienable right to choose the kind of religious instruction which their children shall receive. No one disputes that. Our simple contention is that along with this right of choosing their religious instruction, goes the duty of paying for it. If I say to the parent, 'your child shall not be allowed to receive instruction in Catholic doctrine, or in Baptist doctrine,' I am a tyrant. If the parent should say to me, 'I insist that you shall pay for instructing my child in doctrines which you do not accept,' then it is he who is the tyrant. Yet nothing less than this is involved in the present educational system. We are teaching the religion of some with money raised by the taxation of all. Then the right hon. Gentleman went on to say— Writers for the newspapers, who had not always time to think about the terms they use, have the face to insist that we are for depriving the majority of the community of the right of giving their children a religious education. What we really seek is to deprive the majority of the right of making the minority pay for giving this education to other people's children.… We are next told that the ratepayers, when asked to speak for themselves, reply all over the kingdom by overwhelming majorities, as if, in religious affairs it were not a settled principle of our Government that the majority, however great it may be, and however strenuous its convictions, shall still not force the conscience of the minority. We force Quakers to pay for war, and Peculiar People to call in doctors; but the protection of the Realm and the protection of life are secular ends, not religious ends, like teaching catechism. He held that that was a perfectly good and logical distinction, and he was surprised that hon. Gentlemen supported the proposition that if they were entitled to have compulsory secular instruction, they were entitled to have compulsory religious instruction also. The conscience clause was an admission that they were-teaching in State schools what they had no right to teach compulsorily. In regard to the difference between secular and religious education, the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for India in his book was wholly admirable, and he could have wished that it had been in the hands of every Member in the House before these debates came on The author said— Secular instruction is one thing, and religious-instruction is something quite different; no one who accepts Government aid on condition of a conscience clause can deny this absolute separation. The State has no more to do with the provision of religious instruction than it has to do with the provision of a band of music for each parish. That is the affair of those who want music, or who want religious instruction. There is no prohibition nor wish to prohibit. There is only absolute neutrality and indifference. As one who had long been in favour of the "secular solution" he could not wholly approve of the Bill, but at least he thought they were entitled to have an efficient conscience clause, and the President of the Board had clearly demonstrated, and had enforced his argument by an appeal to his own school experience, that they could not have an efficient conscience clause unless this clause remained intact. If it were otherwise the children who claimed the benefit of the conscience clause at the school would have to submit to be called "little atheists" or "little agnostics." The hon. Member for Northampton had sneered at the term "agnostic," but for himself he deprecated controversy of that sort because, as had been said by an hon. friend of his before, it might lead to retaliation and to the discussion of questions which could not properly be discussed in this House. He would content himself therefore with saying that the hon. Member for Northampton appeared to have forgotten his Greek. "Agnostic" was a perfectly good word, which had been introduced by Professor Huxley. The "agnostic" was the man who professed to know all things, and the agnostic was the man who said he did not know. He was very glad to see that the new Code included provisions for definite moral instruction as part of the secular work, such as the duty of kindness to animals. He had no hesitation in saying that was more valuable instruction for the child, and more truly religious than the teaching of certain stories which some of the greatest scholars within the Church itself told them might be dismissed as mythology. He supported this clause, not because it was logical—he was aware that nobody cared a straw for logic in matters political, and still less in matters theological—but because it was just, and he would never believe that that which was consonant to justice could be at variance with true religion.


said that no doubt the State, having collected the rates and taxes, did not consider very much what religion was taught in the schools. His view, however, was that the people had a right to say that the money they paid should he disbursed in a way of which they approved. It was said that the conscience clause had been in this country for many years inoperative, but supposing that to have been the case—a very large assumption—would not the influence of the local authority have considerable bearing in regard to the operation of this conscience clause? The Catholics had no reason to complain of the operation of the conscience clause, loose as it was, and he was sure they would never have reason to do so. Their objection to this clause was that it placed religious education in a secondary position. They regarded religious and moral teaching as of far more importance than the secular part of education, and they could not assent to any proposal which placed religious and moral teaching upon a secondary plane. For himself he thought the local authority would be able to see that the conscience clause became a reality.

MR. HELME (Lancashire, Lancaster)

said he did not think it could be disputed that the object which the Government had in view in introducing this clause had been to incorporate in the Bill a genuine conscience clause, which all of them on the Ministerial side of the House claimed to be necessary. Hon. Members opposite scarcely realised how Nonconformists felt upon this question, and without for one moment suggesting that the clergy and the teachers employed in the voluntary schools of the country had distinctly set themselves to inculcate doctrines which they believed to be regarded as false by many of the parents of the children, yet it was the fact that their fidelity in presenting various aspects of Church teaching had offended the feelings of a very large number of parents. The doctrines which were taught under the word Church in the Creed included that of the. Apostolic succession, and in regard to that and other matters there should, he thought, be greater security under the conscience clause in future than there had been in the past. But whilst holding that view he would ask whether they might not, in endeavouring to obtain relief from the intolerance which had obtained in the past, be going too far in accepting this clause. He admitted that in regard to the undenominational and secular aspect of school life the irregularity of attendance might demand very careful consideration. It was possible, quite apart from the action of the parents, that the children themselves might play truant, and as the Committee had decided in favour of religious instruction being continued in the schools the question was whether as a matter of practical politics they could not secure a position which would prevent them from drifting into a purely secular system. It seemed to him that if the Government were to adopt the Amendment now before the Committee amended by the omission of the word "secular" and the substitution of the words "in such pure and simple ethics and moral order as shall be approved by the education authority," and at the same time make the Anson by-law obligatory, they might arrive at a solution of the question. They would then have three alternatives which would provide for religious instruction as part and parcel of the ordinary school curriculum subject to the restrictions of this real conscience clause which would not permit children whose parents did not desire it to participate in it. If they took the case it provided for, they had a provision to bring the child to school at nine in the morning, and if the parent did not desire his child to receive religious instruction the child was to be put into another place to receive alternative, not secular instruction. If the Anson by-law was made obligatory all that the parent would have to do would be to write a letter to the schoolmaster and the child would be absolved from attendance. That would enable those who desired no religious instruction to be given to their children to be satisfied, and it would allow those persons who did desire their children to have special religious instruction to have their children taken by the clergyman or the priest and given special instruction in the Church or some other place. Whilst as a Nonconformist he urged the claim of unsectarian education he wished to be perfectly fair to the consciences of others. If this by-law was made obligatory they would make the Bill very much more satisfactory in its working in the country, because there would be no reason for those who objected to it adopting the policy of passive resistance—which it was said they might be compelled to adopt. Thus the children might have religious instruction different m degree; it might be the Cowper-Temple teaching for five days a week, or on the other hand they might have dogmatic teaching on two days in the week supplemented by the Cowper-Temple teaching on three days in the week, or in the four-fifths schools sectarian teaching five day a week, or the children might not come at all. He would rather take the risk under these conditions of unfair influences being brought to bear on the children than he would willingly consent to a system which would exclude religion from the schools. He should therefore support the Amendment of his hon. friend and would try to vary it in the manner he had indicated.

MR. CARLILE (Hertfordshire, St. Albans)

said he rose to support the Amendment of the hon. Member for the Brightside Division, which he hoped would receive the hearty support of the Committee. It did not entirely meet the views of those with whom he sat, but it went, as they believed, a long way towards removing what they held would be very mischievous in the clause as it now stood. He desired to associate himself with the hon. Baronet who recently spoke from below the gangway in this matter. In their opinion religious instruction was absolutely vital for the happiness of the children and must be given under the most favourable conditions. It had in their opinion to be kept close to secular education in order that there might be no sense, in the mind of the child, of its being divorced from secular education. They wanted religious and secular education to be given together in the school so that the child should be impregnated with the religion for which they had all striven during all these years. All that was not to be had in this Amendment, but it went some way towards it. The clause, as it stood, practically destroyed that for which they were contending. There were some, he knew, who felt that if increased facilities were given to children to avoid certain things they would immediately go and do them, but that was not his experience. If they made it easier for people to keep their children away from religious instruction were they acting wisely? It seemed to them that the clause was bent upon destroying all religious instruction in the schools and it was because of that that they felt so strongly about it. But they felt, quite apart from that, that religious instruction should have the first place, and they would not be satisfied with its being put at the end of, the morning or squeezed into an odd half-hour in the afternoon. They believed it should come first and be made the most important of all, and tone the whole education which the children received. They believed that if religious instruction was taken out of the school hours the impression on the child's mind would be that religious instruction was inferior to that which they were receiving in the school. Another point they did not lose sight of was that religious instruction being given largely and chiefly by the teachers themselves gave the teachers on the one hand an immense leverage over the children, and on the other influenced the children very much in accepting the teaching. He knew that vast numbers of teachers in this country would strongly oppose any attempt to prevent their giving religious instruction to their children, because they knew the power of it. If, as the hon. Member for North Camberwell had told them, the most effective instruction that he had given was given not in connection with the1 Bible, but in connection with certain moral lessons it certainly was not the fault of the Bible. Those with whom he had the honour to sit recognised that in the Scriptures lessons there was the power, of God to enable the child to absorb them, but no one would suggest that there was such a power behind mere moral maxims. And it was because there was this power behind religious teaching that they insisted upon it, and that they, with God's help, would see that it should have the first place in the school; that it should be the paramount influence in the school life of the children, The hon. Member for North Camberwell had also said that the great reason why children were not withdrawn under the conscience clause was that the parents had confidence in the teachers. He believed that was true, because up to now they had been able to ascertain that the teachers believed in the divine truths which they were called upon to teach. He would just like to say a word on the subject of some observations which fell from the hon. Member for one of the divisions of Northumberland. The hon. Gentleman deprecated their taking up a religious ground on this subject, and said that the Bill was political. He, however, thought it was very difficult altogether to divorce the political from the religious on most occasions, and he was not sure that it was desirable that they should do so. He thought, at any rate, that the moral, if not the religious side, of legislation, ought to be considered, and he was certain that as a rule it was considered by hon. Members in this House. He protested at all events against the idea that this Bill was to be separated in their minds from religious considerations. Then the same hon. Member had spoken of education as being the drawing out of the powers of the child's mind. The hon. Gentleman apparently thought that that was all that they should expect of education. Many of them claimed that education, to be worth its name, must draw out all the powers of the child.


said the remarks of the hon. Gentleman were very general and were not confined to the Amendment.


said he was merely trying to explain why they laid so much stress upon the importance of the spiritual nature of the child. The hon. Member for West Ham said his faith was strong that religion would be continued in the schools, but he did not give any reason for the hope that was in him, excepting his faith in something that might happen in the future which would lead to the maintenance of religious instruction, notwithstanding the fact that he would make it extremely easy for parents to keep their children away from religious instruction, and for children to avoid it. They did not believe in the view held by the hon. Gentleman, and therefore for the most part he believed hon. Members on the Opposition side and those below the Gangway would support the Amendment.

MR. SOARES (Devonshire, Barnstaple)

said the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had asked the Committee to combine their religion and politics in a most extraordinary fashion, but he seemed to have forgotten one point, and that was that His Majesty's Government had left it an absolutely open question. There was no question of Liberal or of Tory so far as this clause and Amendment were concerned, and he thought the Government had been very well advised in their action because there was nothing of a departmental nature whatever about the Amendment or the clause. The knowledge which was necessary for anyone to come to a conclusion was as open to any humble Member of this House as it was to the Minister for Education himself. The Amendment was rather an extraordinary one. It was proposed by a Nonconformist and supported by Roman Catholics and by Members of the Anglican Church. That fact in itself showed that it had nothing whatever to do with various denominations. In his opinion, the point at issue with regard to this Amendment was whether they were in favour of religious education or a secular system of educati n. The hon. Member for Northampton had pouredscorn on what he was pleased to call the doctrine of mandate. He would not go into the question of mandate now, but this he would say, that every hon. Member when it did not conflict with his conscientious feelings liked to do what the majority of his constituents desired, and he was quite certain that the majority of his constituents desired religion to be taught in the school and the hours of teaching to be made compulsory, of course subject to the conscience clause. He did not think the conscience clause was satisfactory at the present time, and he would like to see the Minister for Education brace it up as much as was necessary. If they passed the clause as it stood and refused to accept the Amendment they would be putting all the delights of playtime in competition with religious teaching. It would be a very extraordinary child that did not prefer to play games rather than be taught religion or anything else. Another fact to be remembered with regard to this clause was that they were, in the case of the towns at any rate, putting the desire of gain in the minds of parents. In all our large towns children of ten or eleven years of age might easily earn a few coppers in the time given to religious instruction, and he would sincerely regret if that should happen. So far as council schools in the rural districts were concerned, religious teaching was entirely under the Cowper-Temple Clause, and, where a school under this Bill would be a transferred voluntary school, on three days of the week there would be Cowper-Temple instruction, and on other two days denominational teaching, but he also hoped that on these two days there would be the alternative of Cowper-Temple teaching to those children who desired it. He hoped that that would be made sure on the Report stage of the Bill; if it were he did not think any one, whatever his denomination, could have a grievance if religious education were made compulsory. The hon. Member for North Camberwell said he found in the course of his experience as a school master that more good was done incidentally during the days' teaching than during the time of the religious lesson. Surely if that were an argument at all it was an argument for abolishing all forms of religious teaching at the opening of school, and that proved that the issue was really one between secular education and religious education, and therefore he for his part intended to vote for the Amendment and against the clause.

MR. HARWOOD (Bolton)

said he should vote for the Amendment and against the clause. The clause would really operate quite differently from what seemed to be generally thought in the Committee. It would have the fate of the conscience clause, and would remain absolutely inoperative; in fact it was only a conscience clause in another form. Why was the conscience clause a dead letter? It was said that the people were afraid of exercising their rights under it because they were afraid of tyranny. That at any rate did not account for it in his part of the country. Nobody would say that a Lancashire cotton spinner was afraid of anybody, and he was sure he would not be afraid of any parson. What was the strongest force which affected people generally in regard to this matter? It was not superstition but habit. The working classes were in the habit of doing this and that, and the last thing they would ever think of was doing something that was contrary to the habits in which they had been brought up. For more than thirty years it had been the habit of the people to send their children to school at nine o'clock in the morning, and they thought that was the proper time. In Lancashire, where the fathers and mothers got up at 5.30 in the morning, it would be preposterous to suggest to them that the time to send their children to school was 9.45, for that would be turning the whole thing into ridicule. This clause would become an absolute dead letter for the very same reason that the conscience clause had become a dead letter. The great mass of people would continue to send their children to school at nine o'clock and only the bad parents would take advantage of this clause in order to utilise the labour of their children. The result would be that all these children who went to school at nine o'clock would have to receive this religious education because there was nothing else for them. He thought the chidren ought to have the choice of a good secular teaching beginning at nine o'clock. They had heard so much about education and conscience that he was disposed to become quite frivolous, for he was sick of the whole thing. He wanted to look at the matter from the 'bus driver's point of view or the point of view of ordinary people. He was an employer of labour himself, and he found that all sorts of reasons were given for sending children to a particular school, but he never heard one give the religious view. Let them drop all this talk about conscience and give them an alternative at nine o'clock. It was nonsense to lose the best part of the morning. They had been asked to consider the education of the children, but they appeared to him to be always forgetting that. From the point of view of the children, could any hon. Member deny that nine o'clock was late enough to commence school? It was nonsense to begin school later than that hour. They ought to give the children a choice. Let them give the parents the alternative of sending their children to religious teaching from 9 to 9.45 or some other teaching. Give them a fair choice and abide by the result. This clause would play into the hands of exclusive religious teaching. It would also play into the hands of the improvident, careless parent and would deprive the children of the most valuable three-quarters of an hour during the day.


said the hon. Member had under-estimated the danger to the children from improvident and careless parents. The Minister for Education had recognised that difficulty. It would not be easy to strengthen the law to meet that danger. He would support the Amendment because he wanted to see religious instruction given distinctly within school hours. Clause 6 as it stood distinctly put religious instruction outside school hours, or, at all events, made attendance thereat unnecessary. In some schools religious nstruction was not by any means confined to the beginning of the day. There were schools in Lincolnshire where it was given on four separate occasions during the day, and if the children were free to come and go upon those occasions there must inevitab y be confusion and disorganisation, which in itself must be bad for discipline. In the Code which had just been issued it was laid down that football and rounders should, under certain conditions, be put within school hours. He was all for putting rounders within school hours, but he was equally for including religious instruction within, school hours. The one was at least as important as the other, and he was quite certain that, however the public might regard Clause 1 and the other great operative clauses of the Bill, it would prefer that this clause should be excluded. He sincerely trusted that the Committee would either amend the clause in the direction proposed by the Member for the Brightside Division of Sheffield or exclude it altogether.


said he came down to the House with the intention of supporting the clause, but he found such omissions in the speech of his right hon. friend the President of the Board of Education that he felt that, on the whole, the difficulties which surrounded the insertion of the clause were greater than were fully realised. The speech of his right hon. friend omitted to meet the question of discipline in the schools and the difficulties of child labour, which were very much more real in the rural districts of England than seemed to be realised. He thought difficulty would arise in the working of the clause on account of the different times at which little children in the rural districts would leave the scattered cottages in which they lived. That was a small point in the minds of Members of this House, but it loomed largely in the imagination of the parents of the children in the districts, and it was one which could not be omitted in considering the administration of the Bill. As to child labour, he thought that a great many Members of the House were not fully alive to the extent to which it was practised in the rural districts of England, and especially in the small towns. About a year and a half ago he went into the question of child labour as practised in Wiltshire. There were two inquiries, the first being held through the agency of the police. The representatives of the police said there was no great amount of child labour in the county. That Report was not regarded as satisfactory and applica- tion was made to the school teachers and the school attendance officers for information as to the conditions under which the children lived. Their Reports entirely reversed the evidence given by the police. It was pointed out that the selling of milk and newspapers was indulged in to a great and growing degree by parents at the expense of the children up to the hour when the schools were opened. The county council made by-laws which prohibited the employment of children in all the cases they could touch up to forty minutes before the hour for the schools opening. If the regular hour for opening the school was postponed till a quarter to ten, there might be an extension of this child labour which was most deletsrious from the point of view of education. It might be said that the parents who drew a, profit—he would say a wicked profit—from the labour of young children were few. The information obtained from the teachers was that this was not so. However well acquainted the hon. Member for Tyneside might be with the conditions in great industrial towns, he could not be acquainted with the industrial conditions in the rural districts, for otherwise he would not have minimised the question of child labour in the way he had done. Hon. Gentlemen who had declared themselves secularists had had the courage to vote against the Government. Let those who were in favour of some religious instruction in the schools also have the courage of their convictions. If it was right that there should be religious instruction, they should not have a clause like this. For these reasons he found himself, somewhat against his will, bound to vote against the clause.

MR. PIKE PEASE (Darlington)

said this was one of the most important questions that had ever been placed before the House of Commons, and he believed the right hon. Gentleman, in allowing the Committee to give a free decision, had done the right thing. The case of the Shalford schools in Surrey showed conclusively that if children were given the option whether they should go to school or not they did not go. A Church school at Shalford was transferred to an association under lease on the condition that the trustees might provide what religious teaching they liked prior to 9.45, but neither children nor teachers were obliged to be at the school prior to that hour. The vicar and curate taught regularly, but the limit of attendance at the voluntary religious lessons was unsatisfactory. The system was found to encourage irregularity and unpunctuality, the results of the teaching were disappointing, and the system was considered so detrimental to the school as an educational machine that when the lease fell in the county council officials declined to entertain the idea of continuing it on the same terms. What they wished to see taught in the schools of this country was the Christian religion—not something which might equally well be Mohammedanism. It was impossible to look at this great question entirely from the political point of view; they must to some extent look at it from the point of view of their faith. He hoped the Amendment would be carried by a large majority.

MR. ASHTON (Bedfordshire, Luton)

said he looked at this question not only on religious grounds, but still more largely on educational grounds. He must confess that he had never himself been an advocate of excessive religious instruction in the schools. In his own district they had religious instruction for one hour on Mondays. He was unable to see why, if two hours religious instruction a week sufficed in public schools, the children in elementary schools should require more. He himself considered that the extra time might be made better use of in the secular education of the children. He had always felt that the Sunday school and the home ought to do most of the religious instruction of the children. At the same time, in the great towns where there was a residuum of the population, and where the parents did not care whether their children got any religious instruction at all, these children should have a chance of receiving some religious instruction. But it was not mainly from the religious aspect that he viewed this question and proposed to vote against the clause. It was on educational grounds. He agreed very largely with what his hon. friend the Member for East Bristol had said about the waste of educational time if the children were not compelled to go to school at nine o'clock to have some kind of instruction. There was another view. The children with-drawn from religious instruction would be wasting their time in the streets or in the fields for three-quarters of an hour every day while the other children, who were receiving religious instruction, were at any rate learning something, and their minds were being trained. Another aspect of the question was that the State would lose. They were spending enormous sums of money on these schools, but there would be a great waste of the State money if for three-quarters of an hour every day the schools and the teachers were not employed in doing the work of education for the withdrawn children. He admitted that there was a certain amount of risk of the children withdrawn from religious instruction having the finger of scorn pointed at them, and possibly being called atheists, but he thought that the chances at this time of day of the parson or the teacher treating the children as Nonconformists, as they used to do, were limited indeed. In the first place, this Bill would put the clergyman in a very different position from that which he occupied when he was the only manager; and in the case of teachers they had now become servants of the State, and servants of the county, and they would nnd political influences in their way which they did not in the old times.


rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put;" but the Chairman withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.

MR. CLAVELL SALTER (Hants, Basingstoke)

said he approached this matter from the point of view of the interests of denominational teaching. The result which he would like to see emerge from all the turmoil of these discussions was the equal giving of definite denominational instruction to all denominations in all public elementary schools. From that point of view he should have no difficulty whatever in supporting this Amendment, were it not for the form which Clauses 3 and 4 of this Bill had for the moment assumed. Let the Committee consider how unsatisfactory would be the religious teaching in the schools as those clauses now stood. He confessed that he was in some doubt as to whether he ought to assist in making attendance compulsory during the time of such teaching. This clause to him seemed to be directed not against denominational but against religious teaching. The schools would be open, the time tables in force, religious teaching would be going forward or would be offered, and under those circumstances he was asked to say that the attendance of the children should be optional. It seemed to him that some of the strongest reasons which might be urged against Clause 6 had very little to do with education, and nothing at all to do with religion. He thought it would be very injurious to the discipline of the school if a lesson given by one of the teachers might or might not be attended by any child as he pleased. The system of elementary education should be as invariable as possible. The school should be opened and closed at fixed hours, and all the children should be compelled to attend between those hours. He was opposed to making any subject in the elementary schools optional; and if they sought for any subject to male optional, religious instruction was the last they should select. To make the best of a bad business, the better solution was that if any parent desired to withdraw his child from religious teaching he should be at liberty to do so under the conscience clause. If he desired to withdraw his child in order that it should have better religious teaching elsewhere, he should be in a position to do so. But unless a parent desired to avail himself of one or the other of those rights religious teaching should be compulsory, he supported the Amendment.

MR. ADKINS (Lancashire, Middleton)

said he heartily supported Clause 6 as against the Amendment and he hoped it was possible for every member of the Committee to do that without being a traitor to educational efficiency or disregarding the conscientious opinion of other Members. The intention of Clause 6 was to make religious education an optional matter, and that only those children should have it whose parents desired it. The moment they went beyond that obvious principle they were at once involved in using State machinery for the formulation of ideas and for the enforcement of religious principles which were actively opposed or only discontentedly acquiesced in by parents whose children had those lessons. The hon. Member for the Luton Division of Bedfordshire had admitted most candidly that if they had compulsory religious lessons in the school the minority of children who did not take them but who, under the Amendment, would be obliged to have arithmetic or something else of a special character, would be at a great disadvantage. If there was not enough secular education taught in the school, then let them have courage enough to make it more. A child who was taught arithmetic instead of religion would get ahead and put the others to a disadvantage. He thought the proper solution of this difficult question was to allow every parent the opportunity of intimating to the teachers of the school if he wished his children to have religious instruction. If so, then he thought the machinery of the State should be available for that type of religious instruction which did not advance the particular interest of any particular sect or any particular society. Such was Cowper-Templeism dependent upon the actual denned wish of the parent—[A laugh]—and it was so in spite of the irrelevant laugh of the noble Lord who apparently could conceive no kind of religious teaching which did not grind the axe of some special group of people. He himself said it was right and just that the State machinery should be used for undenominational religious teaching where the parent desired it. They did not think it fair that the machinery should be used as a matter of compulsion where the parent did not indicate that he desired it. If they put real compulsion upon children attending school to have Cowper-Temple religion or compulsory arithmetic they were making it more difficult for the child to receive religious instruction in some other place at that hour if the parents wished it. He wished to facilitate that.


Why should you care about that?


said he was grateful for that observation. It showed in language the most brief and least courteous the abyss of ignorance in which the noble Lord lived with regard to this question. He cared about it, and the other members of the Committee who supported undenominational religion wished also to give every facility for denominational teaching-elsewhere. By voting for the clause they were voting for making religion as it should be, a voluntary matter. He must cordially support the clause as against the Amendment, and he believed if it were ultimately amended

so as to give religious instruction to children whose parents cared about it then they would obtain it for all children whose parents desired it, and the teachers of the school would know as far as it was possible what children were intended to be there and what parents desired the assistance of the teachers in giving religious instruction to the children.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 267; Noes, 283. (Division List, No. 177.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.) Chance, Frederick William Ginnell, L.
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn. Sir Alex. F Channing, Francis Allston Gooch, George Peabody
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch Cheetham, John Frederick Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)
Ambrose, Robert Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton
Anson, Sir William Reynell Cleland, J. W. Haddock, George R.
Anstruther-Gray, Major Coates, E. Feetham (Lewisham Halpin, J.
Arkwright, John Stanhope Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E Hammond, John
Armitage, R. Condon, Thomas Joseph Hardy, Laurence(Kent, Ashford
Ashley, W. W. Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)
Ashton, Thomas Gair Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Harmsworth, R.L.(Caithn'ss-sh
Astbury, John Meir Courthope, G. Loyd Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B.
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H Cowan, W. H. Hart-Davies, T.
Balcarres, Lord Craig, Capt. James (Down, E.) Harwood, George
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A.J.(City Lond. Craik, Sir Henry Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey) Crean, Eugene Haworth, Arthur A.
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Crossley, William J. Hayden, John Patrick
Banner, John S. Harmood- Cullinan, J. Healy, Timothy Michael
Baring, Hon-Guy (Winchester) Dalrymple, Viscount Helme, Norval Watson
Barran, Rowland Hirst Davies, David(Montgomery Co Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)
Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks Delany, William Hervey, F.W.F.(Bury S. Edm'ds
Beauchamp, E. Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Dickinson, W.H.(St. Pancras, N Hill, Henry Staveley (Staff'sh.)
Bignold, Sir Arthur Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Hills, J. W.
Blake, Edward Dillon, John Hobhouse, Charles E. H.
Boland, John Dolan, Charles Joseph Hogan, Michael
Bowles, G. Stewart Donelan, Captain A. Hornby, Sir William Henry
Bovle, Sir Edward Doughty, Sir George Horniman, Emslie John
Bridgeman, W. Clive Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Houston, Robert Paterson
Brodie, H. C. Du Cros, Harvey Hunt, Rowland
Bryce, Rt. Hn. James(Aberdeen Duffy, William J. Hyde, Clarendon
Buckmaster, Stanley O. Duncan, Robert(Lanark, Govan Isaacs, Rufus Daniel
Bull, Sir William James Dunne, Major E. Martin(Walsall) Joyce, Michael
Burdett-Coutts, W. Esmonde, Sir Thomas Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.
Burke, E. Haviland- Faber. George Denison (York) Kennedy, Vincent Paul
Burn yeat, J. D. W. Fardell, Sir T. George Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hon. Col. W.
Butcher, Samuel Henry Farrell, James Patrick Keswick, William
Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Chas. Fell, Arthur Kilbride, Denis
Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M. Ffrench, Peter Kincaid-Smith, Captain
Carlile, E. Hildred Field, William King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Lamont, Norman
Castlereagh, Viscount Flavin, Michael Joseph Lane-Fox, G. R.
Cave, George Fletcher, J. S. Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)
Cavendish, Rt. Hn. Victor C. W. Flynn, James Christopher Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)
Cawley, Frederick Forster, Henry William Layland-Barratt, Francis
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Lee, Arthur H.(Hants., Fareham
Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey- Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East) Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A.R.
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm. Gilhooly, James Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Lowe, Sir Francis William O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.) Starkey, John R.
Lundon, W. O'Kelly, James(Roscommon, N Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)
Lyell, Charles Henry O'Malley, William Sullivan, Donal
Lynch, H. B. O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
MacIver, David (Liverpool) Parker, Sir Gilbert(Gravesend) Talbot, Rt. Hn. J.G.(Oxf'd Univ.
Maclean, Donald Paul, Herbert Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
MacNeill, John Gordon Swift Pearce, William (Limehouse) Tennant, Sir Edw. (Salisbury)
MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S. Pearson, W.H.M.(Suffolk, Eye) Thompson, J.W.H.(Somerset, E
MacVeigh, Chas. (Donegal, E.) Pease, Herbert Pike(Darlington Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)
M'Calmont, Colonel James Percy, Earl Thornton, Percy M.
M'Hugh, Patrick A. Pickersgill, Edward Hare Tomkinson, James
M'Kean, John Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Toulmin, George
M'Killop, W. Power, Patrick Joseph Tuke, Sir John Batty
M'Micking, Major G. Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne Turnour, Viscount
Magnus, Sir Philip Rawlinson, John Frederick P. Ure, Alexander
Marnham, F. J. Reddy, M. Valentia, Viscount
Mason, James F. (Windsor) Redmond, John E. (Waterford Villiers, Ernest Amherst
Meagher, Michael Redmond, William (Clare) Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard
Meysey-Thompson, E. C. Remnant, James Farquharson) Walker, Col. W.H.(Lancashire)
Middlemore, John Throgmorton Renton, Major Leslie Walrond, Hon. Lionel
Mildmay, Francis Bingham Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)
Mooney, J. J. Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall) Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)
Morpeth, Viscount Roche, John (Galway, East) Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Muntz, Sir Philip A. Rogers, F. E. Newman Watt, H. Anderson
Murphy, John Rose, Charles Day Whitbread, Howard
Napier, T. B. Russell, T. W. White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Nicholson, Chas. N. (Doncast'r) Rutherford, John (Lancashire) Whitehead, Rowland
Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool) Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
Nield, Herbert Salter, Arthur Clavell Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Nolan, Joseph Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland) Wilson, A. Stanley(York, E. R.)
Nussey, Thomas Willans Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel) Wilson, J.W.(Worcestersh, N.)
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert Wood, T. M'Kinnon
O'Brien, William (Cork) Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W. Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.) Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Seely, Major J. B. Young, Samuel
O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Younger, George
O'Doherty, Philip Smith, Abel H.(Hertford, East) Yoxall, James Henry
O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth) Smith, F.E. (Liverpool, Walton)
O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S. TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.
O'Dowd, John Soares, Ernest J. Walters and Mr. Morrell.
O'Hare, Patrick Stanley, Hon. Arthur(Ormskirk)
Acland, Francis Dyke Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.
Adkins, W. Ryland Black, Arthur W. (Bedfordshire) Cooper, G. J.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Bolton, T.D.(Derbyshire, N.E.) Corbett, C.H.(Sussex E. Grinst'd
Alden, Percy Brace, William Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Bramsdon, T. A. Cory, Clifford John
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Branch, James Cotton, Sir H. J. S.
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Brigg, John Cremer, William Randal
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Bright, J, A. Crooks, William
Barker, John Brocklehurst, W. D Crosfield, A. H.
Barlow,, John Emmott (Somerset Brooke, Stopford Cross, Alexander
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Brunner, J. F. L. (Lanes., Leigh) Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)
Barnard, E. B. Brunner, Sir John T. (Cheshire) Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan
Barnes, G. N. Bryce, J. A. (Inverness Burghs Davies, Timothy (Fulham)
Beale, W. P. Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)
Beaumont, Hubert(Eastbourne Burns, Rt. Hon. John Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)
Beaumont, W. C. B. (Hexham) Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Dobson, Thomas W.
Beck, A. Cecil Byles, William Pollard Duckworth, James
Bell, Richard Cairns, Thomas Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness
Bellairs, Carlyon Cameron, Robert Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)
Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)
Benn, John Williams (Devonp'rt Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)
Benn, W.(T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo. Churchill, Winston Spencer Edwards, Frank (Radnor)
Bennett, E. N. Clarke, C. Goddard Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward
Berridge, T. H. D. Clough, W. Erskine, David C.
Bertram, Julius Clynes, J. R. Essex, R. W.
Bethell, J. H. (Essex, Romford) Coats, Sir T. Glen(Renfrew, W.) Evans, Samuel T.
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maiden) Cobbold, Feix Thornley Eve, Harry Trelawney
Billson, Alfred Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Everett, R. Lacey
Faber, G. H. (Boston) Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Fenwick, Charles Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Scarisbrick, T. T. L.
Ferens, T. R. Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs Schwann, Chas. E.(Manchester)
Findlay, Alexander Mackarness, Frederic C. Scott, A.H.(Ashtonunder Lyne)
Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Macpherson, J. T. Sears, J. E.
Fuller, John Michael F. M'Arthur, William Seaverns, J. H.
Fullerton, Hugh M'Callum, John M. Seddon, J.
Furness, Sir Christopher M'Crae, George Shackleton, David James
Gardner, Col. Alan (Hereford, S M'Kenna, Reginald Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Gibb, James (Harrow) Maddison, Frederick Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)
Gill, A. H. Mallet, Charles E. Shipman, Dr. John G.
Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John Mansfield, Harry (Northants) Silcock, Thomas Ball
Glendinning, R. G. Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln) Simon, John Allsebrook
Glover, Thomas Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston) Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John
Goddard, Daniel Ford Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry) Sloan, Thomas Henry
Grant Corrie Massie, J. Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Masterman, C. F. G. Snowden, P.
Greenwood, Hamar (York) Menzies, Walter Spicer, Albert
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Micklem, Nathaniel Stanger, H. Y.
Gulland John W Molteno, Percy Alport Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis Mond, A. Steadman, W. C.
Hardie, J. Keir (Methyr Tydvil) Money, L. G. Chiozza Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Hardy George A. (Suffolk) Montagu, E. S. Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)
Harvey, A G. C. (Rochdale) Montgomery, H. H. Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Stuart, James (Sunderland)
Hazel Dr. A. E. Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Summer bell, T.
Hedges A Paget Morley, Rt. Hon. John Sutherland, J. E.
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Morse, L. L. Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Henry, Charles S. Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Taylor, Theodore C.(Radcliffe)
Herbert, Col. Ivor (Mon., S.) Myer, Horatio Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Higham, John Sharp Nicholls, George Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Hobart Sir Robert Norman, Henry Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Holden, E. Hopkinson Norton, Capt. Cecil William Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)
Holland, Sir William Henry Nuttall, Harry Thomasson, Franklin
Hooper, A. G. O'Grady, J. Thorne, William
Hope, W. Bateman(Somerset, N. Parker, James (Halifax) Torrance, A. M.
Horridge, Thomas Gardner Partington, Oswald Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Paulton, James Mellor Verney, F. W.
Hutton, Alfred Eddison Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek) Vivian, Henry
Illingworth, Percy H. Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden) Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
Jackson, R. S. Perks, Robert William Wallace Robert
Jacoby, James Alfred Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton) Walsh, Stephen
Jardine, Sir J. Philipps, J. Wynford (Pembroke Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Jenkins, J. Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke) Wardle, George J.
Johnson, John (Gateshead) Pirie, Duncan V. Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) Pollard, Dr. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central) Waterlow, D. S.
Jones, Leif(Appleby) Price, Robert John (Norfolk, E.) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Jones, William (Carnarvonshire Priestley, Arthur (Grantham) Weir, James Galloway
Jowett, F. W. Priestley, W.E.B.(Bradford, E.) White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Kearley Hudson E. Radford, G. H. White, Luke (York, E.R.)
Kekewich, Sir George Rainy, A. Rolland Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)
Kelley, George D. Raphael, Herbert H. Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Kelley, George D. Rea, Russell (Gloucester) Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
King, Alfred John (Knutstord) Rees, J. D. Wiles, Thomas
Kitson, Sir James Rendall, Athelstan Wilkie, Alexander
Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster Richards, Thomas(W. Monm'th Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester) Richards, T.F.(Wolverhampt'n Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Lambert, George Richards, J. Compton Williamson A
Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington) Ridsdale, E. A. Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)
Lever, A. Levy(Essex Harwich) Roberts, G. H. (Norwich) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral) Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.) Winfrey, R.
Levy, Maurice Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside) Wodehouse, Lord(Norfolk, Mid)
Lewis, John Herbert Robinson, S. Woodhouse, Sir J.T. (Huddersf'd
Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Lough, Thomas Roe, Sir Thomas TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Rowlands, J. Dr. Macnamara and Mr.
Lupton, Arnold Runciman, Walter George White.

said the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Blackpool and that in the name of the hon. Member for Lincoln would practically lead to a re-discussion of the question they had been discussing this afternoon, with the exception of one small part, and therefore they were out of order.

MR. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London),

upon a point of order, submitted that if the Amendment of the hon. Member for Blackpool† went beyond the purview of the decision of the Committee, the Committee were not precluded from discussing it.


said the Committee had practically decided that the operative part of the clause was to stand The operative part of the clause was that the parent of a child attending a public elementary school should not be under any obligation to cause the child to attend at the school house except during the times allotted to secular instruction. That being the case, the class which the hon. Member for Blackpool sought to exempt was already exempted. If he were allowed to discuss his Amendment he would have to do so on the lines that the particular class of parent to whom he alluded should be exempted, while other classes should not be exempted. That would be quite out of order in view of the decision of the Committee. The same observations applied to the other Amendment in the fame of the hon. Member for Lincoln on the Paper to the clause.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Clause 6 stand part of the Bill."

MR. AUSTIN TAYLOR (Liverpool, East Toxteth)

said he desired in the few minutes that were left to the Committee for the consideration of this Bill to enter his protest against this clause because it was a cowardly one, inasmuch as it sought to relieve the Committee of the responsibility of saying that religion should go out of the schools of the country and invited the parents to say it for themselves. On a previous occasion the Committee had decided that religion should remain within the school hours, but by the admission by his right hon. † The Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Blackpool was "in Clause 6, page 4, line 9, after the word 'school,' to insert the words 'provided that he is able to satisfy the local education authority that the child is receiving adequate religious instruction else-where than at the school.' friend the President of the Board of Education what they were now called upon to vote was that religion should be taken out of school hours. It required no courage on the part of the Government to bring the Committee to such a position as this, but it might imply lack of prudence and foresight on the part of the Government to induce the Committee to stultify its own previous decision. Religion in the school was to be treated worse even than it was treated in the House of Commons. He felt strongly on this question, and he believed that this clause was going to place the supporters of the Bill in an impossible position. He urged them to be honest. He would a hundred times sooner have voted for the Amendment of the hon. Member for Burnley, or the Amendment moved by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, because, whatever might be said of those Amendments, they did not put religion as a sort of curtain-raiser before the performance in which everyone was supposed to take an interest. This clause did not keep even the word of promise and it broke it to the hope. It invited the parent to do what the Committee could not do themselves. It might be thought that the people of England would not understand the proceedings of this House, but he thought they would understand unmistakably what the Committee meant by passing a clause of this kind, and the invitation which would thus be written upon the forefront of the Bill. The clause paltered with them in a double sense and menaced their interests.


said the Government had not succeeded in their attempt to follow some of the worst examples set on the Continent of banishing the name of religion from our schools. They had called upon the Committee to settle the question, but the division which had just taken place would not settle it. Could anything be settled by a majority of sixteen? As long as the Government possessed a majority of hundreds they might hope to settle this question one way or another, but they could not do it with the majority which they had just gained. When the news of this debate was read to-morrow, everybody outside this House, at any rate, world agree that the division which had just taken place would not settle the question. Instead of hundreds, the Government had only a majority of sixteen. [Cries of "No, no."] He judged the action and the desire of the Government by the speech of that Member of the Government who was in charge of the Bill. The speech of the Minister for Education this afternoon was as strong a speech in favour of Clause 6 as could be made. It was a strong invitation to the Party spirit of the supporters of the Government. The clause was supported on the whole by the Party of the Government, and if the Government desired to leave it to the free and unfettered decision of the House, why did they ask the Minister in charge of the Bill to deliver the strong and powerful appeal he made? He appealed to the Government to withdraw the clause altogether, and not to allow it to go forth that at this time in the world's history England was about to follow the example of those other countries [Cries of "America"] which were practically abolishing religion and the name of God from their schools. A short time ago the Committee by an overwhelming majority voted that religion should be taught and the name of God heard in our schools. The

same issue was now practically before the Committee, and the division which had just taken place showed an extraordinary change. The Amendment had only been defeated by a miserable majority of sixteen in a House of 550 Members, and was the Government going to the country and say, "We have settled this point in the education system for you in a Home of 550 Members by a majority of sixteen"? He appealed to the Prime Minister, to the Government, and to the Minister for Education to do what was, after all, the only consistent thing, and to withdraw the clause.


said he was going to vote against the clause, and he respectfully protested against the speech of the hon. Member for East Clare, because he was grateful to the Government for having allowed hon. Members to vote as they pleased. It could not be honestly said that hon. Gentlemen who voted against the Amendment were voting against the teaching of religion in the schools.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 294; Noes, 247. (Division List No. 178.)

Acland, Francis Dyke Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)
Adkins, W. Ryland Black, Arthur W.(Bedfordshire Collins, Sir W J.(S. Pancras, W
Ainsworth, John Stirling Bolton, T.D. (Derbyshire, N.E. Cooper, G. J.
Alden, Percy Brace, William Corbett, C.H.(Sussex, E. Grinst'd
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Bramsdon, T. A. Cornwall. Sir Edwin A.
Astbury, John Meir Branch, James Cory, Clifford John
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Brigg, John Cotton, Sir H. J. S.
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Bright, J. A. Cremer, William Randal
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Brocklehurst, W. D. Crooks, William
Barker, John Brooke, Stopford Crosfield, A. H
Barlow, Jn. Emmott (Somerset Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs. Leigh) Cross, Alexander
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Brunner, Sir John. T. (Cheshire) Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)
Barnard, E. B. Bryce, J.A. (Inverness Burghs) Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan
Barnes, G. N. Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn Davies, Timothy (Fulham)
Beale, W. P. Buckmaster, Stanley O. Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S)
Beaumont, Hubert) Eastbourne Burns, Rt. Hon. John Dewar, John A (Inverness-sh.
Beaumont, W. C. B. (Hexham) Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas Dobson, Thomas W.
Beck, A. Cecil Byles, William Pollard Duckworth, James
Bell, Richard Cairns, Thomas Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness
Bellairs, Carlyon Cameron, Robert Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)
Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R. Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)
Benn, Jn. Williams (Devonp'rt Carr-Gomm, H. W. Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)
Benn, W. (Tow'r Hamlets, S. Geo. Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight Edwards, Frank (Radnor)
Bennett, E. N. Churchill, Winston Spencer Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward
Berridge, T. H. D. Clarke, C. Goddard Erskine, David C.
Bertram, Julius Clough, W. Essex, R. W.
Bethell, J. H. (Essex, Romford) Clynes, J. R. Evans, Samuel T.
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Coats, Sir T. Glen (Renfrew, W.) Eve, Harry Trelawney
Billson, Alfred Cobbold, Felix Thornley Everett, R. Lacey
Fenwick, Charles Lyell, Charles Henry Scarisbrick, T. T. L.
Ferens, T. R. Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)
Findlay, Alexander Macdonald, J.M.(Falkirk B'ghs Schwann, Chas. E.(Manchester)
Foster, Kt. Hon. Sir Walter Mackarness, Frederic C. Scott, A.H. (Ashton under Lyne)
Fuller, John Michael F. Macpherson, J. T. Sears, J. E.
Fullerton, Hugh M'Arthur, William Seaverns, J. H.
Furness, Sir Christopher M'Callum, John M. Seddon, J.
Gardner, Col. Alan (Hereford, S. M'Crae, George Shackleton, David James
Gibb, James (Harrow) M'Kenna, Reginald Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)
Gill, A. H. M'Micking, Major G. Shaw. Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick, B.)
Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John Maddison, Frederick Shipman, Dr. John G.
Glendinning, R. G. Mallet, Charles E. Silcock, Thomas Ball
Glover, Thomas Manfield, Harry (Northants) Simon, John Allsebrook
Goddard, Daniel Ford Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln] Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John
Greenwood, G. (Peterborough Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston Sloan, Thomas Henry
Greenwood, Hamar (York) Marnham, F. J. Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry) Snowden, P.
Gulland, John W. Massie, J. Spicer, Albert
Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton Masterman, C. F. G. Stanger, H. Y.
Hall, Frederick Menzies, Walter Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)
Harcourt, Rt. Hon Lewis Micklem, Nathaniel Steadman, W. C.
Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Molteno, Percy Alport Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Hardy, Georgo A. (Suffolk) Mond, A. Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)
Harmsworth, R.L. (Caithn'ss-sh Money, L. G. Chiozza Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
Hart-Davies, T. Montagu, E. S. Stuart, James (Sunderland)
Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Montgomery, H. H. Summerbell, T.
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall) Sutherland, J. E.
Haworth, Arthur A. Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Hazel, Dr. A. E. Morley, Rt. Hon. John Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Hedges, A. Paget Morse, L. L. Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Helme, Norval Watson Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)
Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Myer, Horatio Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Henry, Charles S. Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr
Herbert, Col. Ivor (Mon., S.) Nicholls, George Thomasson, Franklin
Higham, John Sharp Norman, Henry Torrance, A. M.
Hobart, Sir Robert Norton, Capt. Cecil William Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Hobhouse, Charles E. H. Nuttall, Harry Ure, Alexander
Holden, E. Hopkinson Parker, James (Halifax) Verney, F. W.
Holland, Sir William Henry Partington, Oswald Vivian, Henry
Hooper, A. G. Paulton, James Meller Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)
Horridge, Thomas Gardner Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek) Wallace, Robert
Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden) Walsh, Stephen
Hutton, Alfred Eddison Perks, Robert William Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.)
Illingworth, Percy H. Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Jackson, R. S. Philipps, J. Wynford (Pembroke Wardle, George J.
Jacoby, James Alfred Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke) Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)
Jardine, Sir J. Pirie, Duncan V. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney
Jenkins, J. Pollard, Dr. Waterlow, D. S.
Johnson, John (Gateshead) Price, C.E.(Edinburgh, Central) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) Price, Robert John (Norfolk, E Weir, James Galloway
Jones, Leif (Appleby) Priestley, Arthur (Grantham White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Jones, William(Carnarvonshire Priestlev, W.E.B.(Bradford, E.) White, Luke (York, E. R)
Jowett, F. W. Radford, G. H. Whiteley, George (York, W.R.
Kearley, Hudson E. Rainy, A. Rolland Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Kekewich, Sir George Rea, Russell (Gloucester) Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Kelley, George D. Rees, J. D. Wiles, Thomas
King, Alfred John (Knutsford Rendall, Athelstan Wilkie, Alexander
Kitson, Sir James Richards, Thomas(W. Monm'th Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster Richards, T.F. (Wolverh'mptn Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)
Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester Rickett, J. Compton Williamson, A.
Lambert, George Ridsdale, E.A. Wilson, Henry J.(York, W.R.)
Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington Roberts, G. H. (Norwich) Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)
Lehmann, R. C. Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.) Winfrey, R.
Lever, A. Levy(Essex, Harwich) Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside) Wodehouse, Lord (Norfolk, Mid
Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral Robinson, S. Woodhouse, Sir J.T (Huddersf'd
Levy, Maurice Robson, Sir William Snowden
Lewis, John Herbert Roe, Sir Thomas TELLERS FOR THE AYES,—Dr.
Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David Rose, Charles Day Macnamara and Mr. George
Lough, Thomas Rowlands, J. White.
Lupton, Arnold Runciman, Walter
Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.) Doughty, Sir George Maclean, Donald
Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn. Sir Alex. F Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- MacNeill, John Gordon Swift
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch Du Cros, Harvey MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.
Ambrose, Robert Duffy, William J. MacVeigh, Chas. (Donegal, E.)
Anson, Sir William Reynell Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan M'Calmont, Colonel James
Anstruther-Gray, Major Dunne, Major E Martin (Walsall M'Hugh, Patrick A.
Arkwright, John Stanhope Esmonde, Sir Thomas M'Kean, John
Armitage, R. Faber, George Denison (York) M'Killop, W.
Ashley, W. W. Fardell, Sir T. George Magnus, Sir Philip
Ashton, Thomas Gair Farrell, James Patrick Mason, James F. (Windsor)
Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H. Fell, Arthur Meagher, Michael
Balcarres, Lord Ffrench, Peter Meysey-Thompson, E. C.
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J.(City Lond. Field, William Middlemore, J. Throgmorton
Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey) Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Mildmay, Francis Bingham
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Mooney, J. J.
Banner, John S. Harmood- Flavin, Michael Joseph Morpeth, Viscount
Baring, Hon. Guy (Winchester Fletcher, J. S. Morrell, Philip
Barran, Rowland Hirst Flynn, James Christopher Muntz, Sir Philip A.
Beach, Hn Michael Hugh Hicks Forster, Henry William Murphy, John
Beauchamp, E. Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Napier, T. B.
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Gardner, Ernest (Berks, East) Nicholson, Chas. N. (Doncast'r)
Bignold, Sir Arthur Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield
Boland, John Gilhooly, James Nield, Herbert
Bowles G. Stewart Ginnell, L. Nolan, Joseph
Boyle, Sir Edward Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.) Nussey, Thomas Willans
Bridgeman, W. Clive Haddock, George R. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Brodie, H. C. Halpin, J. O'Brien, William (Cork)
Bryce, Rt. Hn. James (Aberdeen) Hammond, John O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.
Bull, Sir Wil,iam James Hardy, Laurence(Kent, Ashford O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Burdett-Coutts, W. Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r) O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Burke, E. Haviland- Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B. O'Doherty, Philip
Burnyeat, J. D. W. Harwood, George O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)
Butcher, Samuel Henry Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles Hay, Hon. Claude George O'Dowd, John
Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M. Hayden, John Patrick O'Hare, Patrick
Carlile, E. Hildred Healy, Timothy Michael O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe) O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N
Castlereagh, Viscount Hervey, F.W.F. (Bury S Edm'ds O'Malley, William
Cave, George Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury) O'Shaughnessy, P J.
Cavendish, Rt. Hn. Victor C.W. Hill, Henry Staveley (Staff'sh) Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)
Cawley, Frederick Hills, J. W. Paul, Herbert
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Hogan, Michael Pearce, William (Limehouse)
Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey- Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N Pearson, W.H.M. (Suffolk, Eye)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm Hornby, Sir William Henry Pease, Herbert Pike(Darlington
Chance, Frederick William Horniman, Emslie John Percy, Earl
Charming, Francis Allston Houston, Robert Paterson Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Cheetham, John Frederick Hunt, Rowland Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Hyde, Clarendon Power, Patrick Joseph
Cleland, J. W. Isaacs, Rufus Daniel Raphael, Herbert H.
Coates, E. Feetham (Lewisham) Joyce, Michael Rawlinson, John Frederick P
Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H Reddy, M.
Condon, Thomas Joseph Kennedy, Vincent Paul Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hn. Col. W. Redmond, William (Clare)
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Keswick, William Remnant, James Farquharson
Courthope, G. Loyd Kilbride, Denis Renton, Major Leslie
Cowan, W. H. Kincaid-Smith, Captain Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Craig, Capt. James (Down, E.) King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull) Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Craik, Sir Henry Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm. Roche, John (Galway, East)
Crean, Eugene Lamont, Norman Rogers, F. E. Newman
Crossley, William J. Lane-Fox, G. R. Russell, T. W.
Cullinan, J. Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich) Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Dalrymple, Viscount Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Davies, David (Montgomery Co Lee, Arthur H.(Hants., Fareham Salter, Arthur Clavell
Delany, William Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A.R. Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland]
Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Dickinson, W.H. (St. Pancras, N.) Lonsdale, John Brownlee Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Lowe, Sir Francis William Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Dillon, John Lundon, W. Seely, Major J. B.
Dolan, Charles Joseph Lynch, H. B. Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Donelan, Captain A. MacIver, David (Liverpool) Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East
Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.) Turnour, Viscount Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Soares, Ernest J. Valentia, Viscount Wills, Arthur Walters
Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk Villiers, Ernest Amherst Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.
Starkey, John R. Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard Wilson, J.W. (Worcestersh. N.)
Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon) Walker, Col.W.H. (Lancashire) Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Sullivan, Donal Walrond, Hon. Lionel Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart
Talbot, Rt. Hn J.G.(Oxf'dUniv Walters, John Tudor Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid) Young, Samuel
Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury Warner. Thomas Courtenay T. Younger, George
Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark Watt, H. Anderson
Thornton, Percy M. Whitbread, Howard TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Lord
Tomkinson, James White, Patrick (Meath, North) Robert Cecil and Mr. F. E.
Toulmin, George Whitehead, Rowland Smith.
Tuke, Sir John Batty Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)

And, it being after eleven of the Clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.

Committee report Progress; to sit again to-morrow.