HC Deb 30 July 1906 vol 162 cc476-565

Order for Third Reading road.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."

MR. WALTER LONG (Dublin, S.)

moved that the Bill be read a third time on this day throe months. He said that the President of the Board of Education had shown unfailing courtesy and untiring patience in the conduct of a very difficult measure; but that was all that could be said of a satisfactory character in regard to the passage of the Bill. The net result of prolonged discussion was that the Bill had not been amended in any way satisfactory to the Opposition. Nothing had been done to make it loss objectionable There had been no demand for the measure in its present form. The methods of the Bill wore clumsy and the machinery extremely cumbersome. Its effect on local government generally would be disastrous; and its operation on the Church schools monstrously unjust and cruelly oppressive. He had never known the passing of any Bill to leave so extraordinary a record as this had done. Important Government Amendments were frequently put down on the day on which they came on for discussion. On Clause 4 there were forty lines of Amendments in the name of the Government, and next day other Amendments were put down by the right hon. Gentleman. Important Government Amendments, exhibiting all signs of haste in preparation, were frequently put down shortly before the day for discussion (under the closure) of the clauses concerned. Thus, upon the Friday preceding the Monday upon which the debate upon Clause 4 began more than forty lines of Amendments were found upon the Paper in the name of the Minister for Education, involving important questions of principle and detail including the State-aided schools. The Government declared that these Amendments had been very carefully considered. But the next day three new Government Amendments to those Amendments appeared. Further, upon the Friday preceding the Monday upon which the Report Stage of the Bill was begun over twenty Government Amendments to the same clause appeared. So prominent a Radical educationist as Lord Stanley of Alderley had stated with reference to some of these proceedings upon Clause 4, that— The Government Amendments had been flung on the Paper quite unconsidered. Justice could not be done in the limited time assigned to the clause, to the immense new problem before them. There wore many points in the Bill upon which the House and the country knew absolutely nothing. With regard to the "facilities" which were supposed to improve the treatment of voluntary schools the House was left in complete ignorance. The same remark applied to finance. By the operation of the closure the finance of the Bill had been passed not only without explanation, but without discussion. Although a very large sum of public money was to be set apart for purposes under the Bill, no information had been given how it was to be spent. Extraordinary inconsistency of statement had been exhibited by members of the Government. The Solicitor-General had made statements inconsistent with those of the President of the Board of Education, and then the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education lectured the Cabinet Ministers who had spoken earlier. In fact, the discussions on the Bill had been conducted in such a way as to deprive the measure of any title to support or confidence, either in the House or in the country. It was said that the Act of 1903 tore up the settlement arrived at in 1870. The Act of 1870 was intended not to supplant and destroy the great voluntary schools, but to supplement them by providing schools out of the rates where the voluntary schools had failed. Then difficulties arose in country districts where there was keen competition between the Board schools, who were able to dip deep into the pockets of the ratepayers, and the voluntary schools, who had to support themselves. So came the demand for the Act of 1902. The present Bill, its promoters claimed, was necessary in order to give popular control, but voluntary schools, except in the one matter of religious instruction, were managed by the local authorities now. Upon this point he would quote the opinion of a gentleman who did not share the views of the Opposition. In an interview reported in the South Wales Daily News of April 4th, 1904, a Mr. D. P. Williams, a devoted and leading supporter of the President of the Board of Trade in his work in Wales, who was Chairman of the Carnarvonshire Education Committee, said— Wales will not compromise on this question. We might have done so twelve months ago, before we knew by actual experience what the extent of the ' powers of the county council under the new Act' really was. Now that we do know it we shall certainly not compromise. It would be simply surrendering in the very hour off victory. The policy we have systematically pursued has made the position of the denominationalists in the country practically untenable. The clerical manager has been dethroned. Outside the one matter of religious instruction he has practically nothing left for him to do in connection with the school. We determine the salary, qualifications, and terms of engagement of every teacher. We arrange the curriculum and time table; decide upon the subjects to be taught, what text books to be used, and when and how each subject is to be taught. We pay the teacher his salary from the Central Education Office, we supply him with all school requisites, we determine the term of his engagement. The real reason for this Bill was that the passive resisters declined to pay rates for any education of a denominational character. These people had worked themselves into a curious frame of mind. From 1870 to 1902 they paid out of taxes for the very same denominational teaching which they subsequently refused to pay a fraction for out of rates. The passive resisters demanded this Bill; but, having got it, were they satisfied? [Cries of "No."] At a recent meeting at Caxton Hull presided over by Dr. Clifford the following resolution was passed— That the Education Bill Vigilance Committee solemnly registers its protest against the acceptance of the Education Bill of 1906 as a settlement of the question, and expresses the profound conviction of large numbers of Liberals and Nonconformists that it leaves several of the greatest wrongs inflicted on the country by the Act of 1902 unredressed; that while still further subsidising all the old denominational schools, in many cases it strengthens their sectarian character; that it fails to secure the teachers of of such schools in three-fourths of the population against the imposition of sectarian tests; that it does not secure full and free control in all publicly maintained schools; that it enormously increases the confusion and complexity of an elementary school system by multiplying the number of different types of schools. At the same meeting Mr. Peach said— If this Bill were passed into law, its operation in the urban districts would be reactionary and evil, and Mr. Hollowell denounced the Bill in very violent terms. The hon. Member for the Louth Division was reported to have said at the same meeting— That the feeling against the Bill in the Wesleyan Conference was extremely strong.


I did not speak at all at that meeting.


said the words he had read appeared in the report as having been said by the hon. Member. Might he take it that the hon. Member repudiated that view altogether?


said that he declined to speak at the Caxton Hall meeting, but he entirely agreed with the terms of the resolution quoted by the right hon. Gentleman.


said he did not think the accuracy of the report would be questioned. He certainly believed that the hon. Gentleman's views were in conformity with those expressed in this House and out of it by other's with whom the hon. Gentleman was associated. It was a matter of small importance whether the hon. Gentleman held the view which was attributed to him or not. It was an important matter that the hon. Gentleman who was a leading representative of the Nonconformist body shared the view that this Bill ought to be described in the terms which he had quoted. If it was the case that the Bill offended all Churchmen and did them a great injury, and if at the same time it merited, as it had apparently received, the vehement criticism and the strong opposition of those in whose interests it was introduced, then he thought his Motion for its rejection was amply justified. Where were the friends of the Bill? Were they quite sure that they were on the Government bench? The history of the Bill was somewhat peculiar. When the President of the Board of Education introduced it he read textually from a copy of the Bill. But it was found afterwards that by some mysterious process the text had been altered and that the Bill, as published, did not agree with the Bill as quoted by the Minister for Education. That indicated, if it indicated anything, that even on the Ministerial bench there was some division of opinion. But, after all, Ministers were the parents of the Bill. Where else were its friends to be found? From the point of view of popular control, save in regard to the appointment of the teacher, there was no need for the Bill; and if the object. was to satisfy the passive resistors, there was abundant evidence not only that they were not satisfied, but that in their opinion the Bill created fresh grievances, even worse than those under the Act of 1902. The machinery of the Bill was most clumsy and cumbersome. Whatever the Bill might do in regard to education, it would undoubtedly plunge our local governing bodies into a hopeless and bitter controversy over the religious question. The discussion and decision of the question of facilities ought never to have been thrown upon the local authorities at all. If Parliament chose to lay down the principle that all the schools ought to be made county council schools, and that the claims of the denominations ought to be met by a facilities clause, then Parliament ought to have taken upon itself the responsibility of deciding the question and ought not to have imposed upon the local authorities a burden which he believed would paralyse and destroy the local government of the country. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster had promised that the regulations which were to be issued would be placed on the Table of the House before they parted company with the Bill. The words the right hon. Gentleman used were— His right hon. friend had distinctly stated that the regulations for the ballot, the whole machinery to be adopted, would be placed on.the Table of the House before the Bill left the House of Commons. Last Wednesday the Minister for Education stated that he had found the preparation of the regulations a difficult matter, and proposed before the House rose to lay them upon the Table in draft form for the advice and assistance of the Opposition. He believed that the right hon. Gentleman said Clause 4 was regarded as a concession, though not an entirely satisfactory concession, to the Roman Catholic Church. It was certainly not a concession to the Church of England, and he believed in practice it would be found very difficult indeed to give full effect to the clause. He doubted whether Clause 4 would prove to be as satisfactory a relief from the bitterness and oppression of this Act as some anticipated. However that might be, there was no doubt that in regard to the great mass of Church of England schools Clause 4 would have no operation at all. How could the Government possibly defend the application of one set of principles to children in urban areas of upwards of 5,000 population and of a totally different set of principles in rural districts? The Minister for Education had expressed his belief in "the fairness of our local authorities, and thought that in the main they would apply the Bill with justice and a desire not to do injury. He thought there was great truth in that. But the Government did not give the local authorities discretion to apply the Act as they thought best in their own areas. Moreover, the local authorities were now to be exposed to religious controversies, A county council might be anxious that things should remain as they were at present, and everybody in the district, including the parish clergyman and the schoolmaster, might also desire this; but the Government said "No" and refused in such a case to let the i local authority do what they desired. That was startling legislation to come from the Liberal Party, who boasted that they were the Party of progress and freedom. He maintained that the Bill was unjust in itself and unjust to the Church of England. The Government imposed on the local authorities a duty which would involve them in the religious controversy at every election. The Church of England had done a great educational work for more than 100 years, had opened the doors of her schools to all who came, had spent vast sums of money, and had been loyal in the spirit as well as in the letter to the Act of 1902, which had imposed very heavy burdens on her. Clause 4 was intended to meet and did meet to a certain extent the Roman Catholic case.




said he understood that it met the Roman Catholic demands in some respects, although the conditions were so difficult of fulfilment that the Bill would not have any immediate effect. He knew that the greater number of the Roman Catholic schools were in the town districts and Clause 4 would have its effect in these urban areas. But the great majority of the Church of England schools which were in the country districts were excluded from any share in Clause 4, even though the provisions of that clause were not very wide-reaching. If this Bill passed our national system of education would disappear. The Bill was wholly unsatisfactory to the supporters of the voluntary school system, and there was abundant evidence that it was regarded with suspicion and dislike by those who represented undenominationalism as well. Among both he believed the Bill had caused the maximum of irritation. It had very few friends, it had aroused feelings of bitter and just resentment, and many people in the country would sympathise with their view that the Bill was undesired and bad in itself. He begged to move.

Amendment proposed— To leave out the word ' now,' and at the end of the question to add the words 'upon this day three months ' "—(Mr. Walter Long.)

Question proposed, "That the word ' now' stand part of the Question. "


It is always an inevitable risk under any form of official closure that the whole of the multifarious provisions in a measure such as this should not each receive, perhaps, an exactly due proportion of discussion. But I think that nobody who has followed even superficially our long and protracted debates would deny that the main and governing principles of this Bill have been minutely and laboriously canvassed, and that they are now clearly, and I may say universally understood. If I intervene it is not because I have any ambition or hope of being able to contribute any novelty to the discussion, but I do think it desirable, now that we are about to part with the Bill, at any rate in this House, to state in a few sentences what I, and I believe my colleagues in the Government, conceive to be its actual scope and effect, in the shape in which the measure now leaves this House. In the first place, by the operation of Clause 1, which I venture to think has received a disproportionately little share of attention— we make an enormous step in advance in the sphere of administrative reform. After January, 1st 1908, if this Bill passes into law, every public elementary school—by which, of course, I mean every school maintained both out of the rates and the taxes—will become a provided school, and will be under the exclusive management and control of a representative public authority. That means that so far as management is concerned we are to put an end by this Bill to the dual system created by the Act of 1902. In the next place, no teacher appointed and paid by the State is to be appointed hereafter subject to the condition that he is to give religious teaching, or that he is to belong to any particular religious communion, or any religious communion at all. The effect of that is that we emancipate the teaching profession and that for the first time it becomes in all its stages from bottom to top a perfectly open career. Thirdly, in every public elementary school under this Bill provision may be made, subject to the permission of the local authority, for the religious teaching of the children. I use the word "may" advisedly. In other words, the House has definitely and decisively rejected what is called the secular solution, by which I mean a form of elementary education which would prohibit the local authority from allowing any religious teaching to be given to the children by its own teachers. And, lastly, except in the case of the schools which come under Clause 4—as to which I shall have something to say later—the only religious instruction which can be given by the- State teachers is that simple form of religious instruction common, as we believe, practically to all denominations of Christians—[OPPOSITION cries of "No "]—which does not offend, against the Cowper-Temple clause. That, I venture to say, once you have rejected the secular solution, is the only practical scheme. What is the alternative? The only practical alternative that has been suggested is the unlimited right of entry of the sects. I admit that that is a perfectly logical proposal. I admit further that at first sight it has a very taking appearance. But I think the majority of the House feels, as I certainly feel myself, that it is exposed to three obvious and quite insuperable objections. In the first place it is not wanted or desired by the great bulk of. the people concerned namely, the parents of the children. Secondly, it would inevitably land us, in the conduct of the schools, into something like administrative chaos. In the third place—and this surely is an argument which should appeal to those in favour of religious education—it leaves us without any real security for the genuine or systematic religious teaching of the children. If I am right in saying that this is a correct summary of the constructive provisions of the Bill—so far as what is called the religious difficulty is concerned—I venture to say that they embody in a legislative form the very principles which we of the Liberal Party made the bases of our criticisms of the Bill of 1902 and proclaimed to the country. It establishes popular control, abolishes religious tests, and secures, as an integral part of our national system of education, simple religious instruction of the children, subject to the two conditions of a conscience clause and the wishes of the locality as expressed through its representative and responsible local authority. That is the constructive side of the measure. But there is another side. Speaking for myself, and I think for the great bulk of those sitting on these benches, I say quite frankly that we should not be doing justice to the pledges and promises we have given if in establishing—as we think we do establish by this Bill—a real national system of education we did not take care that those changes were carried through with a full and equitable consideration for all existing interests both material and moral. By material interests I mean the interest of the denominations who have invested capital in the fabrics of their schools. By moral interests I mean the interests of parents who demand that in the schools so provided some arrangement should be made for the continuance of the special religious teaching which has been given in these schools. We cannot ignore the fact that the majority of the elementary schools of the country are denominational schools. Those of them in what are called single-school areas are the only schools really available for the whole population. In other districts they are side by side and more or less in competition with the provided schools of the various local authorities. Of course you might by a gigantic act of compulsory expropriation have got rid of the whole of this denominational system. Or you might have made the whole of those schools—whatever the circumstances of their foundation—on the terms of paying adequate compensation, the property of the State. But that is not a course that you could recommend to practical statesmen, and certainly it is not the scheme of the Bill. Within the conditions which we have accepted there is practically no compulsion. I admit fully, as the Minister for Education has admitted more than once, that in our new system there are two possible gaps, gaps which, were they not only possible but probable, would constitute a serious hiatus. On the one hand, you might have an owner of a school, not imbued with the spirit of common sense and the sense of public duty which animate owners of property in this country, who would refuse to transfer his school to the local authority even on the very equitable and liberal terms, both as to the maintenance of the fabric and the granting of ordinary facilities for religious teaching, provided by Clauses 2 and 3. On the other hand, you might conceivably have a local authority so fanatic or perverse that rather than accept the transfer of the school under the conditions prescribed they would go to the extent of building a new school at the cost of the rates. I do not believe for a moment that either of these is a practical contingency against which it is necessary to legislate. Is it likely that an owner such as I have described would prefer the alternative either of closing his school or carrying it on without State assistance to transferring it to the local authority on the terms provided by the Bill? Or is it likely that a local authority, responsible to those who elect them and whose money they spend, would prefer the alternative of throwing a heavy and grievous burden on the rates rather than accept the transfer of the school on the terms provided by the Bill? I do not believe it. My right hon. friend the Minister for Education, in deference to the objections of the other side, quite logically said— If we are to deal with this matter by way of compulsion at all, it must be bilateral. And he offered a clause to that effect which was not accepted by the House. For my part I do not regret its rejection in the least. But I fail to see how it is possible to contend that if compulsion is to be applied at all you are only to fill one gap and leave the other gap entirely unprovided for. At all events I venture to say that as regards the common case, the case of the denominational school in the single-school area, the Bill offers the strongest possible inducement, short of absolute compulsion, both to the owner and to the local authority, to come to an arrangement which will be just alike to the denomination and to the community. Upon the material side the local authority takes upon its shoulders the burden of the payment of the rent and the maintenance of the fabric, and as regards the teaching of religion, the admitted blot on the Act of 1902—admitted even by the authors of that measure—that in many parishes the Nonconformist parent had no alternative between submitting his child to sectarian teaching in which he did not believe and withdrawing it from all religious teaching whatever, is removed, while the denomination retains under the two days facilities power to continue that, religious instruction upon which they set so peculiar and high a value. I I have always felt and always expressed the most sincere admiration and gratitude for the unselfish and self-denying services of the Churches, and especially of the Church of England, to the education of the people. I believe also, and have always consistently maintained, that in any scheme of this kind no injustice and no shadow of injustice should be done to any of the interests concerned, because I am satisfied that any settlement, any so-called settlement, that is founded on injustice, is a settlement based upon sand. That is not an admission at all. Of course one conscience is as much entitled to respect as another conscience. From all these points of view I give it as my deliberate opinion, to which I ask the House to subscribe, that the bargain proposed by this Bill, so far as the single school area is concerned, is a bargain, which would be easily sustained before any tribunal governed by the rules of equity, justice, and fair play. But that does not exhaust the matter. If we stopped there we should not have fully carried into effect the intentions which we have expressed. We should still have to deal with that class of schools where the vast majority of the parents desire the continuance of the special religious denominational teaching carried on in the schools. While that applies in a special degree to the schools of such communities as the Roman Catholics and the Jews, I agree that it applies to a considerable number of Anglican schools also. Many of my hon. friends on this side view this clause, and they include such as my hon. friend the Member for Louth, with unfeigned and obtrusive repugnance. But I think, when they come to consider the matter carefully, they may be reassured on the subject. The safeguards we have set up for the protection of the public and of the minority—though I do not admit for a moment that they are over strict—seem to me adequate for the purpose. On the pecuniary side let my hon. friends remember that no rent is to be paid for any of these schools, and the special religious teaching is not to be given at the expense of the local authority. What is much more important, careful provision is made by the ballot and by the local inquiry for ascertaining the genuine opinion of those whom I may call the genuine parents. And, what is most important of all, if there be a minority, however small, if it be only the parent of one child, the extended facilities are only allowed in the case where there is an accessible and alternative undenominational school to which these parents can send their children. Only in those circumstances do the provisions of Clause 4 come into operation at all. I heard an ironical cheer from the benches opposite when I said that these safeguards were adequate for the purpose. I know that on the other side it is said that perhaps the safeguards are too severe, and that the whole of this provision may be rendered nugatory because they are left entirely to the-discretion of the local authority. That is not the case. It was so when the Bill was originally introduced, but my right hon. friend in the fifth clause has conceded quite rightly an appeal to the Board of Education, because it is the desire of the Government that this clause should be an operative clause, and in my opinion, speaking not without experience of these matters in the Courts of law and elsewhere, that appeal to the Board of Education is a far more valuable safeguard to those who are interested in the working f these schools than the mere substitution of "shall" for "may." If you made the clause simply a mandatory clause in the first instance you would have to go, wherever the local authority refused facilities, straight to the Courts of law. The questions here involved are very unfit for the application of legal rules and principles, and you might have found yourselves in difficulty in enforcinga mandamus. But the Board of Education, which knows all the local circumstances, and has means of informing its mind and conscience which, though of an informal kind, are far more satisfactory and authentic than any that can be found by an ordinary Court of law, will be in a far better position—assuming, as you must, that it is animated by an honest desire to see the Act of Parliament carried out both in the letter and in the spirit— than any Court of law to see that genuine effect is given to the intention of the legislature. If I were interested as a trustee, or parent, or subscriber, in these four-fifths schools, and wished to see them really effective, I would far rather trust the mandatory power in the last resort to the Board of Education than in the last resort to any Court of law in this country. I regard these two Clauses 4 and 5, in their substance, as essential to the Bill. Without them it might be plausibly open to the charge of conscience wounding and uneven dealing. With them, it seems to me, it presents a scheme which deals fairly and honestly with the actual facts and conditions of our educational system as we know it and have to act with it—a scheme which, worked as it will be in the main by local authorities animated by good sense and good feeling, controlled in the last resort by the Board of Education, will, I believe and sanguinely hope, be a practical solution of what has hitherto been a most baffling and embarrassing problem. I am simple enough to believe that in course of time the country will come to see that the other parts of this Bill are of much greater importance than the first part. I will not say anything about the Welsh clause, or anything more than a word. Not because I am afraid of dealing with the subject, but because I do not think it of quite the importance that has been attached to it in some quarters. This clause undoubtedly has been modified more than once, but always in the direction of conciliating hon. Gentlemen opposite, not of enlarging or strengthening but diminishing and contracting, the power given to the new authority. In the form in which it now stands I must say it seems to me, so far from savouring of some dangerous adventure of autonomy or Home Rule, to be a most modest experiment, on lines already operative in Wales in regard to intermediate education, in the direction of administrative delegation. I really think the most timid Unionist—one of those gentlemen whose slumbers are from time to time disturbed by the disembodied ghost of nationality in some shape or guise—when he remembers the powers given by this clause on the one hand to the Board of Education and on the other to the Treasury, might go to sleep in peace without any opiate to secure his undisturbed repose. It was not of the Welsh clause I was thinking, however, when I said that other clauses were of greater and more lasting importance than the first part of the Bill. I think Clauses 15 and 24 are worth as much as the whole of the rest of the measure. Just let me remind the House that in the Act of 1902 there were, as we think, two great administrative blots. In the first place there was the dual management of the unprovided school? and in the second place there was the excessive centralisation resulting from the wholesale abolition of the school boards and the unwieldy area with which many of the county councils have now got to deal. Clause 15, which requires county councils to prepare delegation schemes, will, in my opinion, infuse new vitality and efficiency into our whole system of local administration. Finally, Clause 24 gives much-needed powers and duties to all these local authorities, which will make a great difference not only to the happiness but the intelligence of the children, and the duty which is imposed upon them of providing for medical inspection, and the power given to them to attend to the health and physical condition of the children, is an even more necessary supplement to the statutory equipment of those local bodies. I do not think, when all these considerations are taken into account, that the House has wasted the time and energy which have been given to the discussion of this Bill, in debates which will always be remembered for the untiring patience, unfailing tact, wide knowledge and sympathy, and above all the pacifying and reconciling humour of my right hon. friend; that I can do less than venture at least to claim this for the Bill—that while it is an honest and practical attempt to deal with the religious difficulty which is at present a curse and a reproach to our educational system, it will at the same time greatly enlarge the provision which we make for the health, the intelligence, and the character of the children for whom— though we often forget it—and for whom alone we build and maintain our schools.

MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)

Whatever may be thought in various quarters of the House with reference to the greater part of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, I do not think there will be found in any quarter anyone who will not cordially agree with him in the tribute that he paid to the Minister in charge of the Bill. Speaking for myself and my colleagues on these benches, although we are dissatisfied with the result of these debates, I may say that we do not attribute blame to him, and that we unanimously acknowledge his conciliatory attitude and his manifest and outspoken sympathy with the principle for which we are contending. No one more fully recognises than I do that the opportunity for real debate, for genuine discussion and agreement and procedure with reference to the Bill has for the time being passed away; and for my part, so much do I regard any argument upon this Bill now as beating the air that I intend to confine my remarks to very narrow limits indeed. Every one knows that at eleven o'clock to-night, under the operation of the guillotine, the Third Reading of this Bill will be carried by a large majority— but not by so large a majority as would have been the case if pledges and promises had been more fully carried out in Committee, and not so large a majority as if a more tolerant consideration had been given to the religious convictions of all sections of the people of this country. This Bill will go up to another place with the sanction of a large Party majority. I take leave to say that as an attempt at a national settlement of this education question, and above all as an attempt at the settlement of this portion of the education question, the Bill will go up shorn of that moral weight and authority which alone would be obtained by the satisfaction or at least by the acquiescence of the religious minority in this country. I had hoped all through these debates in Committee that it would have been possible for my colleagues and myself to vote in favour of the Third Reading of the Bill. I did so hope in the interests of a real national settlement of this question; but the Bill as it stands now, instead of ending the sectarian controversy is about to make it an issue at local elections all over the country. I had hoped to vote for the Third Reading as an offer of justice and protection to the poorest section of the people of this country, aye, and I will say the most generous section, because out of its poverty it has spent millions of money in erecting schools for the imparting of religious and secular teaching. But as the Bill stands at the present moment it absolutely condemns one half of the schools of the Catholics of this country either to absolute starvation or else to the acceptance of a form of religious teaching which is abhorrent to the consciences of the parents of the children. I confess I was surprised, after the discussions that have taken place in this House, and after the repeated declarations made by my colleagues and myself upon this point, to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that the Cowper-Temple system of religious teaching is satisfactory to all Christians in this country. He certainly said that, and I think he must have spoken thoughtlessly. Of course I am only speaking for the Catholics, and I state to-day what I have said over and over again, and what we have all said—and what surely if anything is known about the religious portion of this question must be known to all—namely, that the Cowper-Temple system is not merely not satisfactory to us, but is in our judgment the teaching of Protestantism, and whether we are right or wrong in that belief, that being our belief, I must say that it is to my mind nothing short of religious tyranny to say to half of the Catholic schools "either you must accept a system of religious teaching against which your conscience revolts or you must starve." And with reference to the remaining half of the Catholic schools, their fate is in the first instance at any rate at the whim and caprice of local authorities, left to be the battle-ground of local politics. Now I had hoped further that my colleagues and I would have found ourselves in line with the Liberal Party in resisting any unreasonable interference by the House of Lords with a great popular measure of reform; but now we find ourselves in this position, that we are told, and told by men going to vote for the Third Reading of this Bill, to look to Amendments made in the Bill there for the safeguarding of our claims for justice. Under these circumstances I think no one will be surprised if we entertain on these benches some of the bitterness of disappointment with regard to this Bill, especially when it is remembered, as it ought to be remembered by everyone listening to me, that we are sincerely anxious to help in building up a great national system of education, that we are anxious that our schools should be part of it, and that we moat sincerely desire to remove from the shoulders of the Nonconformists the injustice which was placed upon them by the Act of 1902— an injustice which we in our poor wav did our best to prevent during the discussion of that Bill; when also it is remembered that we did not in the attitude we took up quarrel with the broad principle of local control, that we did not ask you to enforce religious tests, and that our own clauses to meet our own very limited and special case are few and moderate, and quite consistent with the great principles to which I have alluded— when you remember that, no one will be surprised at our disappointment. The two limits in Clause 4—the 5,000 population limit in the urban districts and the four-fifths limit —drive half our schools outside the operation of that clause. That has been disputed. I make the statement on the best authority I can obtain, namely, the statistics furnished to me by the responsible heads of the Catholic Church. According to the statements which they have made to me, there are a little over 1,000, or under 1,100, schools altogether, and of these I am informed that over 500 will be exempted by the operation of these two limits. I know the right hon. Gentleman answers a portion of my statement, with reference, that is to say, to the four-fifths limit, by saying that in all probability the Protestants in these Catholic schools will vote for extended facilities. I hope they will. I am sure many parents of Protestant children in these schools are broad-minded. At the same time, I think it is a little unfair to be putting upon them that burden, and it is a little unfair to say to us that the chance of our schools coming in at all under the clause depends upon Protestant parents voting in favour of Catholic children. If they do not, then I repeat my statement on the authority I have mentioned, that out of under 1,100 schools—I think it is 1,040 —over 500 will be absolutely excluded from the operation of Clause 4. What are you going to do with these 500 excluded schools? If 500 Church of England schools are excluded they will have, no doubt, a good reason to com- plain; but after all, it is not the same kind of grievance that we have, because they can, without violating their conscience, at any rate, no matter how dissatisfied they may be, accept the Cowper-Temple teaching. But we cannot, and we will not, and the alternative, therefore, to these 500 schools is starvation. There, is not even a proposal to enable these schools to contract out. Let me say a word on the question of contracting-out. I am against contracting-out on educational grounds, but if you afford us the means of carrying on our schools by giving us sufficient grants to carry them on, then, if you choose I have no objection to contracting-out. But there is no system of contracting-out, wholly or partially, with reference to these 500 schools. I therefore say that no one can in justice speak of this as a Bill dealing fairly and justly with the Catholic schools of this country, when half are about to be put in the position of being either left absolutely to starve, or else accept a form of religious belief which is abhorrent to their religious convictions. Let the limits in Clause 4 be altered so as to include, I will not say all our schools, but most of our schools; I do not say all, because I want to make an exception of the single school areas, and whatever the hardship might be of exempting the single-school areas in order that the grievance of Nonconformists is removed, we are prepared to meet it. We do not therefore ask you to do anything about the single-school areas; but what we have pressed on the House is that the limits of population and the four-fifths limit should be so extended as to include, as they easily could be made to include, the great majority of our schools. If that were done then very small additional changes would make Clause 4 practically satisfactory to us. We have never taken up the position of maintaining the principle of religious tests. I think there was a division on the point, and that I and my colleagues all voted in Committee for that portion of the Bill which prohibited the calling upon the teacher to subscribe to any religious test. All that we have asked is that the voice of the parents should at any rate be heard, that they should in some degree be associated with the local authority in the selection of teachers. It is a wrong way of putting it to speak of religious tests in this matter. It is not a question of religious tests, but a question of the qualification of teachers, and all that we want to safeguard against is the manifestly ridiculous absurdity of a Christian being sent into a Jewish school to teach Jewish doctrine, or a Jew being sent into a Catholic school to teach Catholic doctrine. I say, therefore, that, if the limits in Clause 4 were made right, and if this limited concession of giving a consultative voice even to the parents in the selection of teachers were granted, then we would care very little for the "may" and "shall" question. I have come to the conclusion that, if these other provisions in Clause 4 were satisfactory we could quite safely accept an appeal to the Board of Education instead of making the clause mandatory. But the position we are in at this moment is that these other provisions in Clause 4 have not been made satisfactory, and worse still, that the appeal to the Board of Education which the right lion. Gentleman has given to us has coupled with it a contracting-out provision of a most monstrous and unjust character. It is not a contracting-out at all. It is giving the Board of Education the power to kick the schools out of the system, and under circumstances in which they will only receive, as was shown by the lion. Member for North Camberwell, about half of the cost of the schools. We cannot conduct our schools if we have to provide half of the cost in addition to paying our full share of the rates for the teaching of Cowper-Templeism in other schools. The right hon. Gentleman has taken away the rent. If Clause 4 were made satisfactory to us otherwise I would not spend one single moment in speaking of the rent. I think the taking of the rent away is a rather mean and small proceeding, and coupling with it other things it is an additional injustice; but if Clause 4 were made satisfactory to us in the way I have indicated none of us would stop to make any complaint about what we regard as a comparatively paltry question, the question of rent. Now, Sir, these demands which I have indicated again are few and they are I think moderate. And let me impress upon hon. Members that they are consistent with the great principle o this Bill. They are consistent with Clause 1, with your principle of popular control, they are consistent with your principle about tests for teachers. We make no demand inconsistent with these. The demand we make is this. We stand in an entirely different position from any other sect except the Jews in this country. And when you are establishing a great educational system for Protestant England, we say you ought to make your exceptions, designed to give justice to Catholics, a reality and not a fraud. Let me say in conclusion that it is my firm belief that this Bill in its present shape will never pass into law and my colleagues and I to-night by outvotes will show that, so far as one large section of the population of this country in concerned, we repudiate it as a settlement of this national education question, and we resent and condemn it as an injury.


said he noticed that when the hon.. Member for Waterford referred to the rights of parents and alluded to Roman Catholics and Jewish parents there were loud cheers from the Opposition, and when he said he would help the Ministeralists with regard to the grievances of Nonconformists the Members of the Opposition were dumb. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin had stated that there was no demand in the country for this Bill. On the contrary, he (Mr. Edwards) asserted that there had been a clear and distinct demand for the abolition of the state of things set up by the Act of 1902. There was no question about that. The right hon. Gentleman had been very severe on the Bill and had spoken of it as monstrously unjust and cruelly oppressive to the Church schools, It was amazing that it never occurred to the right hon. Gentleman that Nonconformists regarded the Act of 1902 as monstrously unjust and oppressive. It was that injustice and that oppression that they sought by this Bill to put an end to. The right hon. Gentleman also spoke about the settlement of 1870 being destroyed. But successive Conservative Governments from 1876 to 1897 upset that settlement. Nonconformists had objected to pay taxes for Church schools, but their objections were not carried to the same point as they were when rates were added. The right hon. Gentleman had also condemned the Welsh part of the Bill merely because it had been altered. As the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said, the alterations were made at the request of hon. Members opposite. The hon. Member for the Walton Division of Liverpool moved a series of Amendments which the President of the Board of Trade accepted. By doing that the President of the Board of Trade showed a conciliation of spirit, and it was amazing to him that the Leader of the Opposition should have so fiercely attacked alterations that were made to carry out the wishes of the Party opposite. As a Welshman he welcomed that part of the Bill, and he was sure the people in his country welcomed it gladly. The right hon. Gentleman opposite had been angry about Clause 4, and had asked why they should treat town children differently from country children. The conditions were different. In towns these schools were side by side, but they had not got them in the country. It would be an advantage to the towns that this clause should be passed. The right hon. Gentleman had said there were a greater number of schools outside Clause 4 than inside. Yes, but these were single school areas, in which there were a great number of Nonconformists, especially in Wales. It was those schools the Bill should safeguard. He asked to be allowed to join in the congratulations to the Minister of Education for the way he had conducted the Bill through the House. It had been a hard fight, not always against hon. Members on the opposite side. Sometimes it was against Members on the Ministerial side of the House. He had no doubt that if the House had had a free hand the measure would have been different in some important particulars, but whether it would have been a better measure was quite another matter. They could not have all they wanted in this matter, and for his part he had supported the proposals of the Government in the belief that much of the opposition to them was based upon fears that would never be realised. Wales might be said to have led the opposition to the Act of 1902, yet it was Wales alone which admitted a concordat that prevented strife under the provisions of that Act. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover said this Bill would turn the country into a howling wilderness. He would remind the right hon. Gentleman that, it was a Unionist Government that applied to secondary education in Wales the same principles which this Bill contained applied to elementary education, and it did not turn the country into a howling wilderness. On the contrary, sectarian dispute was conspicuous by its absence in the control and management of secondary schools in Wales. Could any reasonable man say that principles which had proved so successful in the working of secondary schools were likely to be disastrous to elementary schools? He thought a good deal of controversy in regard to elementary education had arisen because the country had decided against a secular system, while at the same time a large majority of the people were also determined that no clergyman or minister of religion should have what was called the right of entry into the elementary schools. The result was that a logical solution of this difficult problem was quite impossible. But it might be that an illogical system would work well in practice. The country had really pronounced against a secular system. Clause 7 provided that denominational religious instruction must be given out of school hours, and it might be that hon. Members thought that was equivalent to a secular system; but it merely showed that the Government believed that the parents who desired their children to have religious instruction would see that they would attend school to receive it. He knew hon. Members opposite professed the same belief; but they did not show much faith in the parents when they wanted to compel them to do that which he believed they would do without compulsion, in country places at any rate. The provisions of Clause 7 were very much required in country places. They were told it would not work well in the towns. If so, the distinction made in Clause 4 between schools in towns and schools in country might perhaps be extended to apply to Clause 7. If it was difficult in towns to get parents to send children to schools for religious instruction, what became of the claim of hon. Members opposite that the one thing a parent desired was to have his child given religious instruction? In the villages a great deal depended upon the school teacher. Where the teacher was moderate and reasonable there was very little friction or difficulty. He was talking to a Nonconformist friend recently and referred to the Bill passed by the late Government with regard to children not being obliged to attend schools from 9 to 9.45 a.m. while religious instruction was being given. His friend had children who went to an elementary school, and he asked him whether he had taken advantage of the Bill. His friend said no. Why was that, he inquired, and his friend said— Well, you see the master is a very good fellow. I like him, he looks after the children well. We get on well together, and he sees that no harm is done to the children, and I send the children to school because I think they are better there than in the street. That would happen wherever they had a moderate and reasonable master. But they could not always have a reasonable master any more than they could always have a reasonable clergyman, and therefore it was only right to protect Nonconformists as was done in the Bill. The Bill was denounced as a refusal of fair play to Church schools. Those views were, however, not generally held in the country. What wrong did the Bill do to Church schools? It insisted that schools maintained almost entirely by public money should be under popular control and that no religious tests should be applied to the teachers, who were as much Civil servants as any members of the staff of a Government Department. Was that contrary to fair play? It paid special regard to the opinions of the managers of denominational schools in regard to the question of schools in large areas. That did not seem to be contrary to fair play. On the contrary, he thought the Bill treated denominational schools with great consideration, in view of the fact that the great majority of the Members of this House of Commons had been returned pledged to the abolition of tests in elementary schools. He spoke as a churchman in this matter, although he represented a county in which there was an enormous majority of "Nonconformists over Churchpeople. In the Report of the Commission which was appointed to inquire into the question of Welsh education two facts stood out clearly. One was an intense desire on the part of the people of Wales to secure the education of their children. The other was that they deeply reseated the dogmatic teaching which was part and parcel of such education as was then open to those children. Unfortunately the fact of that resentment had been ignored by Churchmen. Instead of frankly realising these religious antipathies, they had gone on blindly supporting the policy of working into a national system of education schools which were partly built and largely maintained out of public funds, in which the prime object was the education of the children in the doctrines of the Church of England. It was unfortunate that political memories were as short as they were. Their opponents' main point, as they had heard from the hon. Member for Waterford, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin and from other Members opposite, was that they pushed to the forefront the doctrine of the rights of the parents. That was an admirable doctrine. Had the country forgotten the debates on the conscience clause in the Education Act of 1870? That was an invidious concession to the rights of parents, but it was only secured after strenuous resistance on the part of a large body of the clergy and laity of the Church of England. What efforts had the Church made since 1870 to meet the rights of Nonconformist parents in any one of the single school areas in those cases when she had it in her power? Had she ever moved a finger to give facilities to the Nonconformists? She never did so, and he thought that was a great blot on the Church. Those who denounced this Bill as unfair to churchpeople were always praising the Act of 1902. Hon. Gentlemen opposite said that the only disability attaching to Nonconformists was in the single school areas. It seemed to him that hon. Members who thought so did not seem to have understood the main difficulty of the Nonconformist position. It was that their sons and daughters were excluded from the teaching profession in these schools. A large majority of the children in Radnorshire were Nonconformists, two-thirds of the schools were Church schools, and three-fourths of the children in these two-thirds of the schools in that county had been excluded from, the teaching profession. That was a Nonconformist objection. It was not surprising in view of what had happened that many people asserted that this Bill dealt more generously with the Church of England than the Church of England had dealt with Nonconformists in the past. The provisions for the transfer of schools and the giving of facilities were in his opinion an attempt to deal fairly with privileges which ought never to have found a place in any system of education which claimed to call itself national.

*MR. BUTCHER (Cambridge University)

said the Bill as it now stood was hardly different from the Bill when it first saw the light. There were two Amendments which made it rather less onerous to the voluntary schools, bat in all essential particulars the Bill was unchanged. The debates had not been entirely thrown away. They had not extorted concessions from the Government, bat they had served to bring out the meaning and spirit of the Bill. He would distinguish between the spirit of the measure and the spirit of its author. They all recoginsed the humanity, humour, and kindly toleration of the Minister for Education, and had nothing but praise for his courtesy, tact, and good temper in the conduct of the Bill, all the more striking when contrasted with the spirit and the hard sectarian intolerance of the Bill itself. The Bill was penal and vindictive in its character [Cries of "Oh! "] He was stating his own perhaps mistaken, but quite honest impression. The Bill sought to redress a real but a limited grievance by a wholesale injustice. He would merely touch upon one or two of its broad features. He acknowledged what the Chancellor of the Exchequer had emphasised, namely, that Clause 1 was the cardinal clause. One might say, roughly speaking, that Part I. consisted of Clause 1 followed by a series of exceptions, these exceptions being so many reluctant admissions of the principles of toleration, and of the fact that all persons and all consciences were not made on the Nonconformist plan. The concessions to the rights of conscience were scanty and grudging and what was given with the one hand was taken away with the other. Each concession was occompanied by some set-off, some check, which almost neutralised its value. He was not attacking the principle of popular control. It was quite true that popular control was not in itself inconsistent with perfect religious freedom and toleration. Popular control and religious freedom had been, reeoncilcd in Scotland, Germany, Canada, and elsewhere. The Bill might have been drawn on such lines. Various solutions had been open. All had been rejected. The result was a finely graduated scale of rights of conscience, and at the lowest point of the scale always stood the Church of England. How did the Bill deal with religion itself? The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that provision might be made everywhere for religious teaching. But it need not be made anywhere. In no single school in England or Wales could a parent henceforth claim the legal right of having religious instruction given to his children. The change was a momentous one, because hitherto there had been some 14,000 schools in which the right was guaranteed under the trusts. He did not say there would at once be any marked and visible change. It was a revolution which must work itself out slowly in time, but it was none the less a revolution. If the voluntary schools were to be swept away there ought to have been some compensatory provisions to make up for the teaching hitherto guaranteed under trust to the nation. First, religious teaching in conformity with the principles of the Christian faith ought to have been made obligatory in every school. Secondly, parents' rights should have taken the place of trustees' duties, which were abolished. Thirdly, provision should have been made for the inspection of religious instruction in every school. Fourthly, and he laid great stress on this, no teacher ought to be authorised to teach religion who had not a certificate of training and religious knowledge. The test of knowledge, let it be marked, was an entirely different thing from a test of conviction. Moreover, while there was no security under the Bill that religion should continue in the schools, there was ample security that a religious atmosphere should prevail in the council rooms, a heated atmosphere of conflict and controversy. Every vexed question would there be fought out. The principle of local option under now conditions would impart sectarian strife into all municipal elections. The injury to local government would be as great as the injury to religion itself. There was one other point—not a minor one, but a matter of principle—and that was the condition as to giving special religious instruction under Clause 3. The teacher of the staff was debarred from giving this instruction. All were agreed that this was educationally indefensible. The disability was placed on the person best fitted to teach and best fitted to keep order. What was the ground of the disability? The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the clause was necessary for the emancipation of the teaching profession; but it seemed to him that in the name of freedom they were imposing a tyrannous constraint. For one conscience they spared, there were a hundred which were wounded. They started from the principle, "no one shall be compelled to give special re- ligious instruction if he objects; "they worked round to the position, "no one shall be permitted to give it even if he desires." Never were the principles of freedom more perverted. Again, let them observe the inconsistency of the Government. When the Opposition asked for freer access for religious teaching to be granted to all denominations in all schools: they were met with the answer: "No, that would bring into the schools a mob of amateur teachers; discipline would be impaired."then when they asked that they should anyhow have the services of the regular teachers, the Government turned round and said, "Oh, no; you must bring in outsiders — untrained volunteers."the difficulty about the teachers was to his mind very largely artificial; but so far as it was real it arose from the wavering and contradictory attitude of the Bill towards religion itself. Religion was admitted, but under protest, and every form of Religion which deviated at all from the new Act of Uniformity was treated as some insidious disorder against which precautions must be taken. This Bill did what no Bill had ever done before. It brought into conflict the interests of the teachers, and the interests of education; or rather he should say the interests of the teaching profession from its trade union side and the interests of education. There was no one in the House who did not wish to open up the teaching profession to all qualified persons; but he reminded the House that the teacher's claims were not the only claims. If there must be a conflict and antagonism, then he maintained that the claims of the teacher must give way before paramount claims of the rights of the parents, the welfare of the children, and the interests of religion. The only permanent solution of the difficulty was the granting of equal facilities to all denominations. He believed that the difficulty of granting equal facilities to all denominations had been greatly exaggerated. Of one thing he was certain, and that was that there must be equal facilities to all or none. In the long run the country would insist on religious equality. He hoped that before the Bill finally left this House the Government might find it possible to lift the measure out of the region of penal politics and so to amend it that it might become a settlement of controversy, and not the beginning of fresh strife.

*MR. BELLOC (Salford, S.)

said that as the only Catholic Member in a largely populated district in South Lancashire where the Catholic vote was so large and tenacious, it would be unjust to his constituents and to some of his colleagues if he were to remain silent at the close of this debate, although it was with a certain amount of diffidence that after his remarks in Committee he rose to repeat them now on the merits of the Bill. The Catholics as a whole voted Radical at the last election, and in his opinion that general determination of the Catholic force on English politics was not likely to be easily disturbed. Speaking for himself and also for some of those whom he represented he said that they were at first, not only in sympathy with the beginning of the democratic feature which had been displayed, but they were in favour of the principles of the Bill. They knew the general temper of the English people, and although between the different sect of Protestants there were differences of opinion rather than differences of faith, they recognised that there was a national demand—he would not say mandate— for a final settlement of the education difficulty. The Catholics were, as were the Jews, an exception, and the Government had to meet them and no doubt they did all that they thought was fair to meet their claim. He entirely recognised that they did so, and from the Front Bench they had had no rancour, no spite, and not any considerable misunder- standing. Nevertheless, this Bill would leave this House that night for another place in a condition in which, he would not only say no Catholic could accede to it, but one in which no man who was pledged to maintain the Catholic schools could vote for it. He had not heard anyone explain why the chances of a Catholic child maintaining his religion should be favourable, if there were 5,000 people living in the place where it was born and unfavourable f there were only 4,999. It was a thing so illogical and false that he wondered how it came to be in the Bill at all. He was too young a Member to suggest what forces might have been at work — the English political Parties depended upon Party funds—but he would not insist. He would return to the clause as it now stood. Under it 25 per cent, of the Catholic schools were necessarily doomed. In the particular case of his own county two towns stood near to each other. The one, Protestant (even in the 16th century), would retain its Catholic schools; the other, with a strong Catholic tradition and a large Catholic population, would lose its schools. For the first had 12,000, the last under 5,000 population; nay, in the latter case a great Catholic landlord would be compelled to hand over rates not only for the support of the local Protestant school, but in order to make a school built largely out of his own money Protestant. It was possible that an act of otherwise incomprehensible folly had been committed as an incident of Party tactics. When the Bill went to the Lords no doubt a politician would say to himself, "We must give them something to bargain with. If we give them this they will let us have that." Catholics, however, did not understand those political tricks. All they would see was that one-quarter of the Catholic schools would be wiped out. And when that had permeated into the artisan constituencies of this country the promotion of the Bill would have seriously weakened the popular basis upon which the present Government stood. He did not think the position of the Liberal Party had been strengthened by the retention of such a principle as that in the Bill. If it was thought that it would be forgotten in the lapse of time hon. Members had a totally false impression of the nature of the faith of Catholics. Everywhere by that fatal error the Government had made enemies. The momentary distaste for Liberal policy would not, however, cause Catholics to throw themselves into the arms of the Conservative Party. There was a newer force arising in this country and it was already represented in the House. It was there that they would find the Catholic vote, which was not only a numerical but a moral force, represented in the future. In conclusion he must add that it was not alone as a Catholic that he expressed these views. Even if he did not hold his faith and if he wanted to represent those who sent him to Parliament he would condemn and vote against this Bill as it stood.

MR. PAUL (Northampton)

said before this Bill passed its Third Reading and went to another place he would like in a few words to say what he thought of it as it at present stood. He could not help thinking something further might have been done to meet the wishes of the Catholics. He did what he could, it was but little, to procure an Amendment to Clause 4 in the sense desired, and in doing so he happened quite innocently to say he was not priest-ridden. As a result he had received an anonymous communication in verse informing him that the proper person to ride him was Balaam. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin who moved the rejection of this Bill in so moderate and fair a speech had professed himself unable to understand why men whose conscientious convictions did not interfere with their payment of the taxes for teaching other people's religion should object to the payment of rates. He would have thought that it might have occurred to the right hon. Gentleman, that there was a plain and broad distinction between the two cases. For the payment of taxes there was an equivalent received in the control of the central governing Education Department responsible to this House and the country, whereas for the payment of rates there was no equivalent whatever. The ratepayers had no paramount and controlling voice in the management of the schools to which they contributed the money. The right hon. Gentleman addressed the House not merely as a Conservative but as a Churchman. There was no doubt a great and important difference between the right hon. Gentleman and himself. The right hon. Gentleman was a very eminent and educated Gentleman. He himself was very humble and obscure, but in every other respect he was quite as good a Churchman, as the right hon. Gentleman. That most innocent of God's creatures the-Bishop of London, as innocent morally as mentally, had formed for himself a phantom church which was unanimously opposed to this Bill. There were more Churchmen on the Liberal side of the House than on the other. There were many bishops upon the Episcopal bench, many clergymen throughout the country who held very much the same opinions on the Bill as he held himself. The main ground on which he supported the Bill had nothing to do with either the Church of England or religion. He supported the Bill chiefly because it rendered a great and important service to the elementary education of this country; because it insured that in the future the standard of the worst schools should be brought up to the level of the best; that the standard of the best school now should be the standard of the worst school in the future; and that in years to come the only particular in which this country was behind its neighbours—its want of a sound and scientific education system— would be finally swept away. But while be believed that substantial benefits like those would long outlive the ephemeral disputes on ecclesiastical and theological matters on which so much time had been spent, he confessed he could not take leave of those controversies without a lingering regret. If it were not presumption he would like to say they had been conducted with a fairness, good temper, and knowledge, and laudable if not always successful attempts to be mutually intelligible which must enhance the reputation of this Assembly. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition in replying to him (Mr. Paul) the other day, when Clause 4 was being considered on Report, with a grave courtesy for which he took this opportunity of expressing his thank, asked whether the Government and the Liberal Party agreed with his (Mr. Paul's) theory of State religion. It was not his theory. He should have thought it might have occurred to an intelligence much less acute than that of the right hon. Gentleman that there could not be an Established Church without a State religion. He was not in favour of a State religion, because he was not in favour of an established Church. He held in this matter that any connection between a State Church and religion in schools was politically unexpedient and morally wrong. Even in this House they could not always ignore the facts. That was a state of things that existed, and was likely to exist, at all events for some years to come. That there was a State religion in elementary schools he respectfully denied. The right hon. Gentleman and most of his fellows were in the habit of talking of some form of Christian religion which they called Cowper-Templeism. There was no such religion. Mr. Cowper-Temple was not the founder of the Christian religion, he was the author of a negative clause in an Act of Parliament, and there was no religion that could be called by his name without manifest and flagrant absurdity. The noble Lord the Member for Maryle-bone, who always spoke with the courage of Lord Hugh Cecil's convictions, in answer to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said he would allow the parents of the children who lived in the slums, however degraded, to have the controlling voice in the religion their children should be taught. That was very sound and democratic opinion, but he would like to know how far hon. Gentlemen would go in carrying out their favourite theory that the parent should say what religion his children should be taught at the public expense. Were the children of atheists to be taught the fallacy of the belief in God, and if not why not? Were the children of Mahomedans to be taught the advantages of polygamy, and if not why not? It might be said there were not many instances of that kind. If that were so he would take a fairly numerous, well-known, and highly-respected class consisting of educated and conscientious men, who held and believed that in all ultimate subjects it was impossible to obtain any positive knowledge. They called themselves agnostics. They had children and paid taxes; were their children to be taught at the public expense the paramount moral duty of religious scepticism? Was it not more reasonable and politic to say in this country there were simple religious truths in which all Protestants agreed, that those were truths which many Free Churchmen and most English Churchmen had no objection that their children should be taught, and that subject to the conscience clause those common truths of religion should be taught in the schools? He quite recognised and accepted the fact that as the authors of this Bill they were bound to give some special treatment to Catholics. In saying that he spoke of real Catholics, and not the sham Catholics who wanted to introduce into the English Church what Lord Halifax called the Mass in English and Lord Beaconsfield called the Mass in masquerade. He believed that even as it stood, with an appeal to the Board of Education, this Bill would give substantial security to the immense minority of Catholic schools in this country. But when the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer argued that it was better to have an appeal to the Board of Education than to a Court of law, he could not help asking who in the last resort was to enforce the decision of the Board of Education. There was another clause in this Bill which had nothing to do with Catholics and which so far as he could see served no useful purpose. He referred to Clause 3, the ordinary facilities clause. When the hon. Member for East Mayo said that clause was no use to the Catholics several hon. Gentlemen on the benches opposite said "nor to us." Me had some difficulty in understanding what they meant by "we" and "us," but upon that particular occasion he understood they were identifying themselves with the denominational schools. The hon. Gentleman the Member for the Oxford University, than whom there was no higher authority, described Clause," as cold comfort, and High Churchmen were, he was sure, never comfortable when cold. What had the clause done? Had it limited the loquacity of the curate? Had it made any Bishop feel he had done less well by being angry? It was a clause that gave no relief to anybody, and he would willingly have sacrificed it in order to make the fourth clause give what the Catholics of this country desired and had a right to obtain. The Bill had its blot. Not merely had Clause 4 not been made compulsory, but Clause 6 should have been either omitted or so altered that religion should be made part, subject to the conscience clause, of the teaching of every child. If that had been done and Clause 3 omitted, the Bill would not only have rendered a great and solid service to the cause of elementary education, but it would also have done completely what to some extent it did now—it would have rescued little children from the clutches of the dogmatists and allowed them to grow up as they had hitherto done, in humble reverence of Christ's teaching and in dutiful obedience to God's laws.

MR. LAMBTON (Durham, S.E.)

said the question he wished to argue with the hon. Member for Northampton was in regard to Mahomedans and Agnostics. The hon. Member said that if they were to be logical, why should not it be ordained that Atheists and Mahomedans should receive that teaching in our schools which was acceptable to them in the same way as it was given to other denominations. Early in the session the House determined by a very much larger vote than in 1870, that the people of this country desired to have religious teaching in the schools. In passing that vote for religious education it did not intend to include the fantastic notion of the hon. Member for Northampton, that religious instruction meant teaching for Mahomedans, Agnostics and others. He was one of those who did not entirely follow with favour the Bill of 1902, because he felt that it inflicted some injustice on Nonconformists, and he endeavoured to remove that injustice. He did not accuse his right hon. friend the Member for the City of London of injustice, nor any Member of that side of the House, but he was certain that a sense of injustice existed. But the reason why he opposed this Bill was that it inflicted greater injustice than the Bill of 1902. He did not impute any conscious injustice to the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill or to any of his colleagues, although on that point he was not quite so certain. He did not think there was any Party in the House who wished to inflict injustice upon their opponents, but he thought that on the present occasion they might evolve some light and that religious peace which they all desired. Hon. Gentlemen on that side of the House thought Cowper-Templeism worse than no religion at all. Hon Members opposite would not allow Roman Catholic schools that liberty which they certainly deserved. He asked the hon. Member for Northampton to consider whether logic was entirely a matter on which they could depend. They were dealing with the case of little children, and he was sure that hon. Members had not brought up their children in logic, and many Members, especially those below the gangway, would maintain that to be logical in elementary education we must have a secular system. He denied that that was logical. Logic was worth nothing unless the premisses were sound. What were the premisses in this case? The State ordained that the child should have education and the parent must send his child to school. In the opinion of the majority of the people of this country education without religion was worthless. They could not leave out religion from true education any more than they could mathematics or writing. The one reason why he objected to this Bill more strongly than any other was that it placed religion outside the school hours. He thought it would have the result of banishing the Bible from the schools. There were some who advocated secular instruction and the banishment of the Bible because they thought it would get rid of the religious difficulty. Mr. Forster in 1870 said that if we banished the Bible from the schools the irreligious difficulty which would be created would be even greater than the religious difficulty, and he expressed a hope that the time would come when all parents would be able to agree as to the religious education to be given to their children. He (Mr. Lambton) ventured to express the same hope in 1902. It was perfectly astounding in the 20th century there should be such differences between Church of England Christians and Nonconformist Christians that they could not agree as to the teaching to be given to little children. He was grieved to think that the present Bill did not remove those differences. That might be owing perhaps to misconception on both sides, and he was convinced it was owing in some degree to the fact that Cowper-Templeism was looked upon with suspicion by so many hon. Members on the Opposition side, and owing to action like that of the hon. Member for Louth, who so persistently objected to any concession to denominationalists. Lord Shaftesbury in 1870 said that denominational teaching was founded on the assumption that these little children were persons of mature age. He quite agreed. He believed that a modus Vivendi was attainable, and would be attained in this country. What stood in the way? Perhaps a few proud prelates or arrogant doctors of divinity. He was only a layman, and it was not for him to suggest to them what they should do; but he was quite convinced that no man, not even the hon. Member for Northampton, would say that they should banish religion from the schools on that ground. He did not think that even in the name of Science that could be done, because if they asked the question, "What is religion?"there might be a thousand answers but to the question, "What is science? "there was only one answer. Science was the true understanding of nature, and it had not solved the mystery of the human soul. The human soul was always asking for religion, and it was not for man or Parliaments to deny the spiritual cravings of nature. Therefore their endeavour must be to afford the children such teaching. If the leaders of the Churches stood in the way of that happy consummation all that they could do was to ask them to remember the words of our great Master, "Suffer little children to come unto Me and forbid them not." But here they had only to hold even the balance of justice which was the only chance of peace in this question, and he did hope when this Bill came back from another place they would continue this discussion in a friendly and peaceable spirit. They might fail, but at all events let them determine not to use the souls of little children as counters in the political game.


who was indistinctly heard, said the hon. Gentleman had made one statement which he thought he would be disposed to modify on reflection. It was said that this Bill would create more injustice than it would remove. The Government had endeavoured to place definite denominational teaching upon a voluntary basis. That was the real characteristic part of the Bill. The Opposition described the Bill as a Bill for secularising the Church schools, in effect for the benefit of Nonconformists. If that were true it would be a very serious reflection not only on the Bill but also upon Nonconformists. He ventured to ask the House to look at this proposition a little more critically and fairly. What was the effect of this Bill upon Church schools? He was asking what was its practical effect. He was not asking what some sensitive person might believe to be a possibility under this, that, or the other clause, but what was likely to be the real result of this Bill in actual working. Looking at the matter in that way could anyone doubt that the denominational teaching which Churchmen desired would go on much the same as before? The old custom of the Church of England schools, speaking generally, was to have two days a week for Catechism teaching, and three days a week for the simple Bible teaching and prayer that made up the elements of Cowper-Temple teaching. Was there any reason why all this should not go on in substance as it had always gone on? Would Churchmen have any difficulty in getting volunteeers to give Catechism instruction on two days a week?, He could not believe they would. They who did a great work before 1870, and to their honour had maintained a great burden —though a rapidly diminishing burden —since, would find no difficulty in providing Catechism instruction in their own schools on two days of the week, especially when they were being relieved in so many other directions. Even now the Church of England was left in a position of very substantial privilege. It would possess the very special right of entry to its schools, and it would have them maintained free of cost, with the payment of rent by way of contribution to the cost. In other words, Churchmen under this Bill would have the right of entry in what had now become State buildings and State property. He asked hon Members to put to themselves fairly and squarely this question: Did that look as if the promoters of the Bill had been animated by any special spite against the Church of England? He thought not. It was also said that after all the Bill was for the benefit of Nonconformists. Again, he would invite hon. Members opposite to consider a little the position of Nonconformists. Nonconformity was spoken of as if it had no doctrines or form of religion, and was giving nothing up, and that the Church must receive some special compensation because Cowper-Templeism was peculiarly favourable to Nonconformists. The body of doctrine among Nonconformists was so deep, so complicated, so far-reaching in the lives and conduct of men that they would not allow the State to touch it. Could it be supposed, therefore, that Nonconformity was giving nothing up from the doctrinal point of view when it consented that the State should give non-dogmatic, non-denominational teaching instead of taking money from the State to teach its own doctrine? He was sure hon. Gentlemen would realise that, if they would use, not their reason, but their imagination for a moment, and just think what would be the effect upon their own feelings if Nonconformists were really to claim doctrinal equality. Supposing that there had been no Cowper-Temple clause, and the Nonconformists had carried a great many school areas and had placed them under their own doctrinal teaching. What would be the feeling of hon. Members opposite if they saw Nonconformists having a privilege in State schools in any parallel to their own? They would think it a hardship and a bitter grievance. Supposing they went into a council school and heard the teacher paid by the State telling the little ones that even baptism was an absurdity and apostolic succession an error. Would they like it if they could hear the teacher to whose support they must contribute taking one by one every doctrine they held dear and pointing out that it was an imposture? They would conceive, and rightly so, that they were grossly injured as a Christian community. He appealed to hon. Gentlemen not in any angry controversial spirit, because he knew he was dealing with Christian and fair-minded men, subject of course to the fog that controversy so often introduced between disputants, but he asked them to consider the picture he had put before their mind. Let them reflect upon the deep feeling of indignation and of wrong that would permeate their Church if they were put under precisely the same system as the Nonconformists had been placed under. It was not fair to say that Nonconformity was getting the benefit; it did not seek it. There was only one respect in which anything like equality could be said to be established even now between the Anglican and Nonconformist Churches, and that was that distinctively dogmatic teaching was placed on a voluntary basis. But that seemed to be the very grievance of the Church, and their policy corresponded to their grievance. What was the policy of the Conservative Party? It would be no injustice to say that it was still the policy embodied in the Act of 1002. The noble Lord the Member for Maryle-bone was beginning to have his doubts about the Act of 1902. The noble Lord had not yet reached the stage of giving them very emphatic expression, but he was not quite comfortable when he was on the Act of 1902. Who was? His fear was not that the noble Lord would not go far enough for them, but that he was going too far. Up to 1902 the theory of Parliamentary grants was that laid down in the speeches and legislation of 1870— namely, that those grants represented a gift by the State in aid of secular education. But under the Act of 1902 a different state of things came into being. Then the Leader of the Opposition took the rates in order to supersede the subscriptions. He took the teacher who had hitherto been paid partly by the denomination and put the whole cost of the teacher's salary, covering the cost of religious instruction, on the rates. The Leader of the Opposition had the distinction therefore that he definitely, avowedly, and explicitly put the cost of distinctive dogmatic teaching on other backs than those of the denomination who wanted it. That and nothing else was the policy of 1902, and a grievance was undoubtedly created among Nonconformists which must be dealt with in some form. Now, what was the means by which it was to be met? The Chancellor of the Exchequer had already drawn attention to it, and he should like to say a few words upon it. The Conservatives put forward what was called the right of entry, or all round facilities in every school. That undoubtedly looked a most admirable solution. But had hon. Members opposite seriously considered what that proposition involved? It was the Conservative alternative to this Bill. But he wanted to know how they proposed to deal with a grievance that they admitted, because it must not be forgotten that the grievance Nonconformists complained of was indisputable. It was a grievance which had been mentioned again and again by the Leader of the Opposition, and that made more serious the responsibility of continuing it. What had been suggested throughout these debates was that the grievance was met by giving the right of entry to all sections to enter all schools. He had not seen that there had been any definite or intelligible policy put forward to meet the Nonconformist grievance except the right of entry. How else did hon. Members propose to deal with the Nonconformist grievance, which they admitted? No plan but the right of entry had been suggested, and that involved above all things the neutrality of the State teacher, because one denomination could not in such a scheme be allowed to annex the j teacher. It would be preposterous to talk of giving equal rights to all denominations in the schools, and yet allow one denomination to annex the teacher. The right of entry had got controversial advantages. It did homage to the principle of equality, and. that was a principle to which they were always bound to do homage. But there would be little equality, indeed there would, be injustice, if in some schools a denomination was to have exclusive rights in its own schools and yet have the right of entry in other schools. Therefore, he took it that the essential condition of the right of entry which was put forward by so many hon. Gentlemen was that the teacher should be neutral. What did the Leader of the Opposition say in regard to the position of the State teacher? It was not quite clear what hon. Gentlemen opposite thought, for in the same breath while they demanded the right of entry to all schools, they protested against anyone but a State teacher giving religious instruction. The Leader of the Opposition went down to Cambridge and drew a picture of a teacher sitting silent while someone else perhaps better instructed and of a more theological spirit came in to give the lesson which the teacher had been accustomed for generations to give. The right hon. Gentleman called that a great atrocity, and he, still thought it an atrocity that the State teacher should allow anyone else, even a clergyman, more highly cultivated and instructed, to come in and give the, religious lesson.

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

That was not the atrocity. What I called an atrocity was pre venting a man who had been accustomed to give the religious teaching from doing so, if he were competent and willing.


said that under the right of entry scheme, "the teacher would sit silent." Did the right hon. Gentleman mean that the Church schools were to retain all their exclusive advantages? What the right hon. Gentleman said at Cambridge was this— Henceforth the teacher is to sit silent and hear the religious lesson which he has been accustomed to give to generations of children with general approval given by no doubt an equally instructed and even more highly cultivated person, but one who is not by training as well qualified to give that same lesson as the teacher who has done so year by year. Is not that a great atrocity?


That is not the opinion I expressed.


said he had no desire to ascribe to the right hon. Gentleman an opinion which he repudiated, but he must have some opinion—he did not care what it was. He might take it, at all events, as being the fact that in the schools where the teachers had been accustomed to give the religious lesson for many years it was an atrocity for anybody else to come in and give it. [An HON. MEMBER, "No."] He did not need to go back two months for the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman. Only two days ago the right hon. Gentleman expressed an opinion on the subject and he hoped that opinion had not undergone any great change. At the National Union of Conservative Associations the right hon. Gentleman said— Everybody admits that if you are going effectually to give religious education, that work must in the main be carried out by the ordinary teachers of the school.


Hear, hear.


said he was on firm ground now. In that case what became of the right of entry of all denominations into every school? The equality offered to the Nonconformists under that arrangement did not exist unless the State teacher stood neutral. Hon. Members opposite must make up their minds which of these opinions they did hold. He had ascribed to their words what appeared to be the ordinary meaning, but he appeared to have been wrong. He hoped that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen would take the opportunity of re-stating their views, and let the House know in plain terms what their remedy for the Nonconformist grievance was. Did they mean each denomination to give religious teaching by its own officers at its own cost? When they gave the House a little further instruction on that point he dared say they would be able to deal with them again. There had been two remarkable developments in this debate. The first was the attack made on simple Bible teaching which had been spoken of as subversive of Christianity itself. The second was the enunciation of the doctrine that to make a child a Christian it was necessary to attach the child to some denomination. That meant that denominational schools must, if their religion was to be effective, seek to proselytise. He was sure that I hon. Members opposite and most Members of the Church of England would repudiate with indignation any idea that they used their schools for the purpose of proselytism. But let him ask hon. Members to consider what was involved in the doctrine which had been so clearly laid down that it was necessary to attach a child to a denomination. That was a very serious position for Nonconformists whose children were put into a Church "atmosphere" by compulsion. They were allowed when they got there to relieve themselves of the religious lesson by means of the conscience clause. He thought it was a great misfortune that in the schools the alternative lesson should be arithmetic. It was used as a punishment in many of the schools. It was a misfortune that the children of Nonconformists should be driven into the atmosphere which was indicated by the attacks on Cowper-Temple teaching, and that they could not get any religious teaching unless they were attached to a denomination. There had been really no defence of an injustice of that kind put on so many of our fellow citizens. There had really been no answer to the most essential part of the Nonconformist case presented by this Bill, namely, that the Nonconformist community of the country must be relieved of the burden of having to pay for the teaching of doctrines contrary to their faith. It was said that this Bill was prompted by dislike of the Church of England. He confessed that he could not listen to that charge without deep resentment. If Churchmen admitted, as they did admit, the injustice done to other Christian communities by the system which the Government were seeking to modify, they might go a step further and admit that the effort to remove the injustice was not necessarily dictated by hatred or spite. Let them search their own hearts, and see with what sentiments they regarded the members of those other great religious communities which they had driven from the communion of the National Church. Perhaps they did not want reconciliation, and, for his part, he doubted whether reconciliation was possible. But there might be some approach to sympathy and a better understanding amongst Protestant communities, and the absence of any desire for such was one of the most fateful elements in the religious life of to-day. This internecine conflict amongst those who preached the Gospel of Peace had the effect of turning men's eyes altogether away from unity, and if they could not have reconciliation they might, at any rate, try to lessen the feelings of repulsion. This education question helped to focus the attention of the great Christian communities away from unity and upon the fact that the most powerful and most wealthy of them all had imposed upon its fellows an act of great injustice. That was a terrible indictment, and the Government ought to be given credit for the effort they were now making to free the Church of England from the shadow of that great accusation.

MR. MASTERMAN (West Ham, N.)

said that while he found his objections to the Bill melting before the kindness and courtesy of the Minister for Education, the Solicitor-General had succeeded in arousing every controversial fibre he possessed. He was not making any complaint against the hon. and learned Gentleman's method of controversy, but he could not accept in any degree his description of the Bill. What was the good of the Solicitor-General saying that under Clause 3 denominational teaching would go on in the same way that it had been going on for thirty or forty years? The House had deliberately decided that the Church teaching which had been going on in the village schools of England by the teachers was no longer to be given by those teachers, even outside school hours and at their own expense. People would ask why this teaching which their children had been receiving for so many years was now suddenly to be regarded as poison. He did not agree that the right of entry implied the neutrality of the teacher. He, however, had no objection to neutrality if neutrality were made equal all round. This Bill did not give religious equality. The soundest thing said by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford was that the day for argument had gone by; and therefore he would not use further argument. But he might say that they had been debating this Bill for four months and some of them had been trying to make it a just, equal, and final settlement of the education question. Some of them had pressed for what they were convinced was the only proper solution of the problem: that the State should withdraw altogether from teaching or creating a religion. They were beaten; they accepted defeat and only wished to safeguard the interests of minorities. Every kind of concession which they advocated had been refused—not altogether by the wish of the Minister for Education, but because of the cry of "No concession" from the Ministerial benches. From an educational point of view he believed that it would have been much better to have built new schools all over the country than take over the non-provided schools where one religion would now be taught at the expense of all others. There was a misty and shadowy feeling about Clause 4. What was asked for was a poll of the parents. Now it was decided that the souls of children in an area with a population of 5,000 were more valuable than the souls of children in an area of under 5,000. And they were reduced to the alternative of contracting out or kicking out. Their objections had not been answered and for the first time in history a Government calling itself Liberal was definitely enacting that one kind of religious teaching and one kind only should be subsidised by the State. They had heard eloquent speeches against that religious teaching, but he had nothing to say against it except this, that however admirable, however sound it might be, the fact was that an appreciable minority in this country refused to accept it. They had heard a repudiation of that form of religious instruction by an hon. Member who spoke for 2,500,000 Roman Catholic citizens of this country, and there were a large number of others who objected to that form of religious instruction. This, therefore, was rather a forlorn position for a Liberal Government to take up. He regretted that this Bill should go to another place in this forlorn condition. They were sending the Bill to another place knowing that large changes would be made there and were prepared to accept at least a certain number of those changes. [MINISTERIAL cries of "No, no."] Hon. Members dissented now but he ventured to say that in six months' time his hon. friends would probably find themselves more in agreement with him upon that point. He regretted every kind of concession that they made to another place, because what might have been given out of magnanimity was given grudgingly and of necessity and would not bring back those Liberals who had been alienated by this Bill. Still more deplorable was the fact that every concession they on their side received from the Upper House weakened the general democratic appeal against the constitution of that Chamber. It was sad to think that this great democratic movement which some of them looked upon as the dawn of a new day should have as one of its first results the fact that 2,500,000 Catholics and a more indefinite number of Liberals were saying "Thank God for the institution of the House of Lords."To exercise a giant's strength like a giant was to be guilty of tyranny, and he thought they should have been more magnanimous in dealing with this subject. After saying this, however, he hoped it would not be considered as a weakness on his part if he said that he intended to vote for the Third Reading of the Bill. No incident in his short and in glorious political experience had caused him so much trouble as that fact. He should vote for the Third Reading of the Bill because it established popular control and because he thought there was much in the contention of the hon. Member for North Camberwell that 1906 was born of 1902. After the injustice born of 1902 it was perhaps rather too much to expect from human nature anything like a permanent and satisfactory settlement, but he believed that every unfair Bill passed by either side helped forward the day when the nation would accept the secular solution of the problem, because it was a solution which was equal and therefore Liberal; because it was compatible with giving the highest religious education to every child in the country. He felt convinced that in the end the country would find one solution and one solution only which was capable at the same time of making for educational progress and religious equality.

*MR. PERKS (Lincolnshire, Louth)

said he wished to express his absolute dissent from the views to which the House had just listened. He did not think that secularism would in consequence of the passing of this Bill be any nearer of introduction into the elementary schools of this country than it was to-day. He thought therefore that that fear might be set aside as an idle one. Passing on to more practical matters, he would like to say one or two words from the point of view of the Nonconformist, and he did not object to being called an extreme Nonconformist. Before he did so, he wished to pay a tribute to the very tactful and delicate way in which the Minister for Education had handled this subject, and if in coming months the Nonconformists had to say some strong things about Clause 4 he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not think that they did not appreciate the ability, zeal, and good temper which he had shown in the conduct of this Bill. It was true that prominent Nonconformists in the country were very deeply disappointed with some of the clauses of this measure. The Chancellor of the Exchequer earlier in the day had referred to Clause 4, and said it was the clause of all others which the Government considered to be vital to their Bill. He indicated, although he did not say so in so many words, that that was the corner stone of the measure and the foundation upon which the Government built. But that clause, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer might have known if he had been informed of the opinions of the great Nonconformist Churches of the country, was the clause against which every Free Church in the country had directed its censure. Indeed he did not know of a single religious community of any sort outside the Church, of England which had not called upon the Government either to withdraw this clause altogether or to alter it so that it would not bring about what the Government desired. Therefore he learned with regret that the Government intended to stick to this objectionable clause. The right hon. Gentleman had twitted him with his obtrusive opposition to this clause, but he could assure him that what little opposition he had given in the House was nothing to the opposition which would be given to it by prominent Nonconformist communities from one end of the country to the other. Nonconformists were disappointed with the Bill because, while it started with a very bold declaration of what it meant to do, it had not really done what it contemplated. It was all very well to say they intended to secure for every school popular control under a unified system. Schemes of great intricacy had been introduced for setting up a multitudinous number of sectarian schools, and in many cases unquestionably involving a sectarian test for the teacher. Nonconformists were sometimes told that they had submitted no alternative. He quite admitted that the principle of the right of entry was bad and impracticable. It had been tried and had signally failed. But there was another alternative, and one which might be adopted if this Bill did not become law. He was not very sanguine of the Bill becoming law, and, personally, it certainly would not break his heart if it did not, so long as Clause 4 remained in its present shape. The alternative was to re-establish the old school boards and cover the whole country with them. He would create school boards in the rural districts of manageable dimensions, and he would turn over to these popularly elected ad hocauthorities every elementary school in the country as well as the control of every department of public education of all grades. In doing this he certainly would not confiscate anybody's property. The million provided in the Bill would be amply sufficient to set up all over the country these board schools and for erecting new schools where desired. Voluntary schools could be purchased where there was a desire to sell. He ventured to suggest that it might not be undesirable to see if they could not devise some scheme by which the Roman Catholic difficulty could be met. He entirely agreed, with some words that fell from the Solicitor-General in which he said the Catholics could, not be expected to receive the Protestant Bible as the common book of instruction for the children of Catholic parents under a Cowper-Temple system of religious in- struction. But he did not think it could be so stated and resisted so far as the Church of England was concerned. There was in his mind a vital distinction between the two cases. He was anxious that no school in this country should be used for the purpose of proselytising the children of other religious communities. He did not understand that the Roman Catholic Church desired to educate Protestant children in their Catholic schools. He would far rather that no Protestant child should receive his instruction at Roman Catholic schools. But there was a strong and he thought a reasonable feeling on the part of the Catholics of this country that it was unfair that their children in these schools should receive Cowper-Temple instruction. The Nonconformists had no desire that the children of any sect should grow up in insanitary buildings, under such conditions that both physically and mentally they were not fit to discharge the proper duties of citizenship, and if the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church desired to meet the loaders of British Nonconformity in order to see if some agreement could be arrived at, speaking only for himself, he would go a very long way indeed in conference with the Roman Catholic Church in this country to try and meet the special difficulties of the case.

SIR CARNE RASCH (Essex, Chelmsford)

said it was not fair to test the accuracy of the anonymous assertion to which the hon. Member for Northampton had alluded. He would only say that the animal to which the hon. Gentleman was likened, was a professor of short speeches which he was afraid the hon. Member was not. As he had not ventured to offer his views on this question on the Committee stage perhaps the House would allow him to say a few words on the Third Reading. He did not pretend to be an expert. He was only a humble agricultural Member —he had even been called by a Vice-President of the Council "Tony Lumpkin," and had been told that the agricultural Members knew more about the difference between oats and barley than about education. That right hon. Gentleman also said that if they had their way they would rather have the money proposed to be spent upon education laid out in artificial manures. He could only say that so far as he was concerned the right hon. Gentleman was correct. He had only risen to say how much he regretted the way in which four months had been wasted over this Bill. He was sorry the Government did not take the advice he offered them when the Bill was first brought in. Had they done so they might, have turned the flank of half the Amendments that had been put down and got rid of them without doing any harm to the Bill or to the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen who put them down. The advice he had ventured to offer to the Government was that they should take a leaf out of the Army List, and do what had been done in the Army for many years past with tolerably good effect. When he was in the Army, when a man joined he was asked whether he would like to be told off as a Roman Catholic, a Protestant, or a Persuasionist, or in other words a Nonconformist, and there was never any difficulty. When a man went to school a priest went in at one time and gave instruction, at another time the Nonconformist minister, and at another time the Church of England parson. They never had any difficulty about religious teaching and everything went merry as a marriage bell. Why should not there be some arrangement such as that in the council schools? Since the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House had two months ago shown some benevolent sympathy in respect to a matter to which he need not further allude he had some sort of respect for the right hon. Gentlemen sitting opposite—though, of course, he could not vote with them. One had to draw the line somewhere, hut he was glad to see them getting through their difficulty and time of trouble, although it would have been reduced by half if they had taken his advice. So far as he was concerned, he had voted against every Education Bill that had been introduced into this House, and he proposed to do the same on this occasion.

*MR. MASSIE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)

said that in bidding a short farewell—and to the Minister for Education surely not an unwelcome one—to this Education Bill, in speeding the parting guest, and the returning guest (but in what shape returning, who knew?) it was of no use to blink the fact that this Bill was not the Bill for which most of them on the Liberal side of the House had hoped and worked. Yet, perhaps, and probably, it was the best kind of Bill that, in the circumstances, could be passed just now. They had hoped for a national system that would unite rather than continue to divide them, and for a public education in things in which they should agree, not in things in which they should differ. But their differences were being perpetuated, their unification was being postponed. True, in the council schools their differences did not intrude themselves, or they intruded themselves insignificantly: but in the schools to be newly taken over and to become provided schools, denominational differences were to find entrance by facilities: and what was more distinctively separative, schools wholly maintained by public money, and by public money wholly kept in repair, were to be frankly denominational, and were to drive forth the minority children to find some other home. Then there were to be sectarian schools, schools of the order of the "last resort," as they might be called, which, though not assisted by the rates, were to be almost entirely maintained by the State while retaining their private management. These divisions were said to be the price of peace. It remained to be seen from the way in which these divisions worked whether the peace would be peace at any price or not. Anyhow, two sides remained: on the one side were denominational privileges, on the other, public right. Strong educational points might be made against these denominational privileges, but when they were in view, educational points must clear the way. For example, denominational privileges often spelt small schools, and small schools wore costly and inefficient: they often cost quite £1 a head more than the larger schools, and they could not be properly staffed for all the standards; yet for the sake of the denominational privileges the small schools must stand. So the Bill was not one of principle, but one of compromise; yet it was an honest compromise, honest in its inception, and honest in its execution. Let him also pay his tribute to the Minister who had had this Bill in charge. Through his patient, unwearying, invariably good-tempered, open-minded and altogether masterly conduct of the Bill, his praise, like that of the "brother" was or ought to be in all the churches. So far as the Bill was one of principle, it was one of principle applied with exceptions, and it altogether depended how the exceptions worked out whether the exceptions proved the rule or became the rule. It was held by some to be quite possible that the bulk of the public education in urban areas would, in twenty years, be denominational. Lord Hugh Cecil once wrote that the 4th clause would turn out to be far more favourable to the Church of England than her enemies (by whom he meant the friends of a national system) desired. These friends of a national system could only hope that the sectarian heat and denominational burden of the day would not be too much for them. Meanwhile, it was, as he said, a Bill of compromise. This could be gathered from the general quietness of its supporters, though they had steadily voted for it, with certain exceptions on notable occasions. A compromise might be necessary, but a compromise quelled enthusiasm. Hence their support had been rather a voting support than a vocal one, not always from lack of will but sometimes from lack of opportunity. And from some deficiency in acclimatisation to the atmosphere of this House, while the spirit had sometimes been willing, the flesh had sometimes been weak. Still they had voted for the Bill, and he for one intended to vote for it to-night, though he felt that the concessions had gone quite far enough. They would hardly gather that it was a compromise from the tempestuous wrath of some of its opponents. But they were men of like passions with other men; they were fighting for the power, the patronage, the privilege which were slipping from their grasp because they could not keep afloat without public maintenance. In their arguments it was interesting and suggestive to notice they always ignored this public maintenance; they always threw a veil over thequid pro quothat was due from them. If he could not congratulate them, he could felicitate them on the salvage they had secured from the wreck. He felicitated them on the £1,000,000, or the part of it, that was to come to them. He once hoard the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham say in 1870, when Mr. Forster's Bill was before the country, that the old Church rate had been for the repair of the Church fabric, the new Church rate was for the repair of the Church formularies. In this Bill the rates looked after the repair of the fabric, the rent looked after the repair of the formularies. He felicitated them. He felicitated them on the amount of oil apparently required to lubricate the machinery, and on the ransom that had to be paid for the fragments of equality rescued from captivity. It was a better bargain than denominationalism would over make again. Their best friends should advise them to take it and be thankful. It was alleged to be the price of peace. But was it peace? The answer was—there could never be peace so long as one Church was determined to be master, so long as—according to the phrase of one of the most unreticent of the bishops—she was determined not to be put on a level with the other denominations. The Bill was going before a tribunal whose jurisdiction was based on constitution and antiquity and on these alone. Possibly that tribunal might share the view of certain leading Conservative journals that public control and abolition of tests were inevitable. If so, they might respect the independence of the teacher and his reputation for impartiality, and might refuse to hand him over to those who would introduce a test by a side wind. They might keep Clause 8, the charter of freedom for the teacher. They might also show regard to the will of the parent, and in that case they would refrain from compelling him to send his child to the religious instruction. They might show their respect to religion as having a power to look after itself, and not contravene its genius by imposing constraint. In a word they might keep Clause 7, the charter of religious freedom for the parent. They could not respect the parent's will and at the same time compel him: they could not have it both ways. And he hoped that the Government, now that that clause had been carried in open House by a forty-seven majority, would remember that it was their own child, and after having exposed it to the discordant elements, would take it up again and cherish it. As for the eighty-five Liberals who voted against the clause, he could only say that if he had stood on the various platforms in his constituency during the contest and had said that he should, vote against the only democratic clause in the Bill, the clause that made religious freedom real, and should help to rehabilitate the fusty futilities of the conscience clause, he suspected that he would not have been in the House of Commons to vote at all. The root of the compromise in this Bill was that the State was still dabbling in religious education, and still patronising and controlling religion. And the root of that policy was that the bulk of the English people would have it so, because they were not yet accustomed to believe in the power of religion or to leave the spread of godliness to the godly. Whether the people would long remain in the same stay depended on the answer to the question, "Will there be peace?" By this he did not mean whether the squabble of the sects, as it was called, could be made to cease, but whether a stop could be put to the cause of that squabble, the self-assertion of one sect. Till that time came, until there was a sense of equality not only on the paper of an Act but in the temper of a Church, there was no prospect of a settlement except on a secular basis, and for which basis that Church temper, and it alone, must bear the responsibility.

MR. HUNT (Shropshire, Ludlow)

said it appeared to him from the speeches that had been made that nobody—not even hon. Members on the Ministerial side of the House—liked this Bill. The Labour Party and the Irish Party were opposed to it. The hon. Member for Blackburn in a speech at Stockton said— The Bill pleased nobody but the Nonconformists. In their joy at being offered the chance of having Nonconformity established as the State religion in the schools the Nonconformists have forgotten all the resolutions of their councils and conferences, and are embracing a measure which will inflict a conscientious outrage on the majority of the people of the country and increase tenfold the bitterness of the sectarian conflicts in every locality in the land. That was the opinion of the hon. Member for Blackburn about this measure. The Nonconformists were always talking about their objection to tests for teachers, but he would read to the House a quotation showing how they carried out this principle themselves. At the Nonconformist College at Bishop's Stortford a teacher was dismissed for no other reason than that he was a Catholic, and a letter from the headmaster stated— I regret that I have no option but to ask you to retire from holding a mastership here at the end of this term.


Is that a college maintained by public funds?


said it was. The school from which this teacher was dismissed because of his religion had had grants from the Hertfordshire County Council amounting to £550. He would give the hon. Member who had interrupted him another specimen of a Nonconformist parson. At a meeting held in reference to a dispute about a school in Flintshire the Rev. Dr. Evan Jones said— He detested the idea of a compromise. He would more willingly agree to divide the world with the devil than to divide the schools with the Roman Catholics. He had known them both personally, and he had known Rome. He would rather be responsible for the building of the school himself than go shares with the Roman Catholics. If they compromised with the devil they knew where they were, but with the Catholics they never knew what the end would be. Under this Bill Catholic children might be taught by Jewish teachers, and Nonconformist children might be taught by Catholic teachers, or by teachers of any or no religion at all. And those teachers would be called upon to give religious teaching that they did not understand, and which they did not believe in. No man or woman could give religious teaching that they did not believe in or understand. They might as well appoint a man to teach writing who could not write himself and who did not believe in teaching children to write. The Minister for Education had said that minorities must suffer, but in this case it was the great majority of voluntary schools built by the Church of England, the Catholics and the Jews, in order to secure for the children definite religious teaching, who were to surfer. The President of the Board of Trade had declared that clericalism was the enemy, and he supposed when he said that he did not mean the Nonconformist ministers but the Church of England parsons and the Roman Catholic priests. This Bill was little else but an attack upon the Church of England. Nonconformist ministers were, unfortunately, very jealous of the Church of England parsons, and they particularly disliked them from the fact that they were not in the same social position. [Cries of "Oh, oh! "] He was very sorry for this, because the effect of it was to turn Nonconformist ministers into tremendous Radicals. Under this Bill the supporters of voluntary schools would have more justification for passive resistance than the Nonconformists had under the Act of 1902. The Catholics would still have to pay rates and taxes for religious teaching in other schools of which they totally disapproved and at the same time they would have to pay for the religious teaching in their own schools. Catholics had no objection to the popular control of secular education, and they would be quite willing to pay for their own religious instruction if other denominations did the same. They insisted, however, upon having Catholic teachers in Catholic schools, and there was no security for that under the Bill. To a great majority of English Churchmen the Bill was preposterous, and he wondered the Government did not drop it, because even their own supporters did not want it. He represented one of the strongest Protestant counties in England, and the opposition to this Bill in his constituency would surprise a good many hon. Gentlemen opposite. He hoped English Churchmen would fight shoulder to shoulder to get fair play. He thought he was justified in saying that the Liberal Party never got a popular mandate for this Bill, and if it was forced through the House against the wishes of a great majority of the parents the supporters of denominational teaching would be compelled to adopt some form of resistance on a gigantic scale under which it would be found impossible to work the Education Act of 1906.


said he desired to point out to the House how the Bill would act in his own constituency. Bath was full of Churchmen and Catholics. There was scarcely any variety of religious belief which was not represented in Bath. There were Nonconformist temples, Church of England shrines, and Roman Catholic places of worship. There was no doubt at all that the Church of England dominated Bath from the religious point of view. There were only four provided schools, with accommodation, roughly speaking, for 2,000 children. The non-provided schools numbered eighteen, with accommodation roughly speaking for 6,000. Amongst the non-provided schools there were two Roman Catholic schools with an average attendance of about 242. He took it as pretty generally agreed that there were two points which were fairly settled between all Parties in the House, and that was that they were at last going to give full and adequate popular control of the schools, and that there were to be no religious tests for teachers. The point left practically to deal with was, what was the religious difficulty? What would be the religious difficulty in Bath if this Bill passed? The Wells Diocesan Syllabus was taught in the council schools in the city. The only alteration they made was that instead of calling it a religious syllabus they called it a Biblical syllabus. What would happen to the non-provided schools, which he assumed would be transferred to the local education authority? For three days in the week the religious instruction would consist of their own diocesan religious syllabus, and for two days of the week they would have the teaching of their own catechism. He wanted to know where the complaint of English Churchmen came in. In the course of that afternoon's debate they had heard criticisms, amounting almost to invectives, poured on the Bill in respect of its injustice to Churchmen. The teaching in the Bath schools had been of a most excellent description for years past. What grievance would the Roman Catholics in the City of Bath have under the Bill? Obviously their two schools would come within the four-fifths clause and therefore they would practically go on as at present, with the exception that there would be full and adequate control and the teachers in them would not be subject to religious tests. The local authority would have due consideration for the children attending these schools, and they would appoint Roman Catholic teachers in them. The whole thing would be most adequately and fairly dealt with. The Church of England, in addition to having all advantages under this Bill, would have a fair and adequate rent given to them for the use of their schools. Every night in the week and all Sunday the Church would have the use of its schools, so that the rent amounted to an additional endowment of the Church of England. He was absolutely aghast when he read that morning a poster which had been issued by the Church Schools Emergency League. He gave an excerpt from it— Dare we professedly Christian people support a Hill which derides religion, dishonours the Word of God, and defrauds the little ones? When he spoke outside the House on the Bill he had to exercise considerable restraint with regard to the invectives used by the gross misrepresentations of the advantages conferred by the Bill. There had been some lukewarm support for the Bill from the Government Benches sometimes. For his own part he most heartily and thoroughly supported the Bill as a most generous attempt to meet a most difficult situation, and above all to carry out the mandate of the people that there should be no secularisation of our national schools. He would say to those who did not entirely approve of this measure, "Take care that you don't go farther and fare very much worse." If the present generous offer was not accepted they would have very much worse terms. The Bill had the support of the representatives of the Free Churches, and it was the last attempt to settle this most difficult question. If it did not settle it they would be thrown back on a solution which he shrank from, and that was the abolition of the teaching of religion from the schools. He most earnestly hoped that in whatever form the Bill came back from another place it would never leave the Houses of Parliament unless it was substantially in accordance with the Bill as it left the House to-night.

*MR. REMNANT (Finsbury, Holborn)

said that one could not but be glad at the admission with which the hon. Member for Bath concluded his speech. He hoped that in the division on the Third Reading they would have the hon. Member on the side of those who were fighting for the retention of religious teaching in the schools. This Bill offended against every Liberal principle. It abolished religious freedom by penalising the Church in favour of Nonconformists; its clauses were complicated and mutually destructive, for while it abolished religious tests it imposed them in the four-fifths schools. The Bill struck not only at the roots of morality, but also at the formation of sound character. The root fact which the Nonconformists must learn to appreciate was that large masses of their fellow-Christians regarded a system of undenominational religious instruction devised by the State as derogatory to religion, and would not submit to a law which imposed it on them, whether in elementary schools or otherwise. This view was clearly set forth by the late Mr. Gladstone twelve years ago. He pointed out that it would be very easy to frame an undenominational religion much to the liking of certain fragments, of the Christian body, but divested of many salient points needful in the view of historic Christendom for a complete Christianity, and the State might be tempted to authorise such a scheme by law in public elementary teaching, and to arm it with exclusive and prohibitory powers as against other and more developed methods— It is in this direction," he wrote, "That we have recently been moving, and the motion is towards a point where a danger signal is already lifted. Such an undenominational religion as this could have no promise of permanence. None from authority, for the assumed right to give it is the negation of all authority. None from piety, for it involves, at the very outset, the surrender of the work of the Divine Kingdom into the hands of the civil ruler None from policy, because any and every change that may take place in the sense of the constituent bodies, or any among them will supply for each successive change precisely the same warrant as was the groundwork of the original proceeding. Whatever happens, let Christianity keep its own acts to its own agents, and not make them over to hands which would justly be deemed profane and sacrilegious when they came to trespass on the-province of the sanctuary. These words were as true now as they were twelve years ago. If the followers of the Government who were going to vote for the Third Reading were left free to vote according to their consciences the majority of the Government (which was only sixteen on a recent important occasion when the question was left an open one) would disappear, and the Bill would be relegated to the position in which it ought to be. Again, in a letter to a political supporter on the London School Board election in the same year, Mr. Gladstone wrote— An undenominational system of religion framed by or under the authority of the State, is a moral monster. Whatever English Nonconformists might think of this view, they ought to acquire sufficient breadth of mind to take it into account. For good or for evil, the attempt of the last Parliament to maintain the two systems of provided and non-provided schools on something approaching equal terms was to be upset. "What ought in justice to be substituted? Certainly not a system which conferred exclusive privileges at the expense of all upon so-called "undenominational" teaching, which satisfied only some and was loathed by others. The only system consistent with the elementary principles of civil and religious liberty was one which recognised the duty and right of parents to determine the religious instruction of their children.

*MR. P. BARLOW (Bedford)

said he had the honour to represent a constituency which, if he might use the expression, had education as its main industry. The borough of Bedford had been possessed of an educational trust fund between 300 and 400 years, which starting from an income of about £40 a year had now at its command about £16,000 per annum. The one small schoolhouse of the early days had now grown into four of the finest schools in England, in which were educated 2,000 children of both sexes. He might be told that this was a matter of secondary education only, but he would point out that until a short time ago the Trust had elementary schools under its control, and that even now they had a system by which children, by the aid of scholarships, could pass from the elementary to the secondary schools and afterwards to the University, without any expense to their parents. He had made it his duty to inquire into the kind of religious education which was given to the children in those schools, and he found that it was of the Cowper-Temple type; and for forty-five years not the slightest objection had ever been made by the parents of the children to that kind of religious teaching. They had heard a great deal about the extreme views which some Nonconformists had taken on this subject of religious education. He ventured to say that hon. Gentlemen opposite could not throw many stones at Nonconformists about their extreme views, because some of the most extreme views expressed both inside and outside the House on the subject of religious education had not been put forward by Nonconformists; while Members of the Opposition had put upon the views of Nonconformists a construction which they had no right to impute. Speaking as a Quaker who owed no allegiance to any priest, parson, or minister, he maintained that Nonconformists as a body were too fair-minded, and too deeply in sympathy with the principles of religious freedom to share the opinions expressed by some of those who had taken the lead in this agitation whether inside the House or in the country. While the great body of Nonconformists desired to have the burden removed from their own shoulders, they did not wish to place a burden on the shoulders of any other denomination. In supporting this Bill heartily he would point out that the very best evidence of its justice was the fact that it had been opposed by extremists on both sides. The Bill was a good Bill, and he believed that in a very few years it would work beneficially for the whole country.

*COLONEL WILLIAMS (Dorsetshire, W.)

said he could assure the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down that there were many Members of the Church of England on the Opposition side of the House who fully appreciated every word that he had said.. They quite reciprocated, too, the opinions expressed in many of the passages of the speech of the Solicitor-General, as to the desire for the need of unity between Christian people of all churches and denominations. The conclus on of the Solicitor-General's speech was, however, rather lame. He said that the burden on the Nonconformists was a blot upon the Church of England, and that blot the Bill was intended to remove, so that after all the Bill was aimed at the Church of England. He ventured to say that the last speaker could not have paid close attention to the debates, because there was a very large section of fellow-Christians who did regard the transfer of the burden from Nonconformists as putting a very serious burden on Churchmen. There were a good many inconsistencies as well in the phrases of the speech of the Solicitor-General. The hon. and learned Gentleman alleged that it had often been said that Nonconformist doctrine would be benefite by the passing of this Bill. He, for one, had never said that; on the contrary, he held that it had always been the claim of Nonconformists that they did not want their particular doctrines to be taught in the national elementary schools. But the Nonconformists wanted nobody else's doctrines to be taught in the elementary schools. They said, "We do not want denominational teaching for our own children, and therefore we will not have denominational teaching given to other people's children," and this Bill carried that out. The doctrines of Nonconformists were not benefited by it, but their wants were satisfied. The Solicitor-General went on to speak about neutrality all round, and the annexation of teachers. By whom were the teachers to be annexed? By the Church of England, or by the Roman Catholics, or by the Nonconformists? What a pitiful thing it was that the great Liberal Party could not pass an Education Bill without saying to the finest body of teachers in the world that they must muzzle their consciences, and when they entered the schools, no matter what their religion was, they must not show it. When they came to know what real freedom was and how it could be brought about they would not talk of annexing teachers, Then the man would teach what he believed, and in his judgment it was no use a man teaching anything except what he believed. They ought to give a man or a woman the right to teach what they believed, and that was the foundation of a sound religious and moral education. Therefore he hoped that they should not hear any more about the annexation of teachers. It must be left to the man or the woman to teach what he or she believed to be truth. An hon. Member had alluded to the case of Bath, and said that no harm had resulted there from adopting the diocesan syllabus of Bath and Wells. The hon. Member forgot to mention, however, that that was the system which had been thought out by religious people in the diocese and had not been imposed by the local authority, or by the county council. The case exactly illustrated what they had been fighting for, viz., that the religious instruction should be, he would not say dictated, but superintended by religious people. [An HON. MEMBER: The syllabus was adopted by the Bath Education Authority.] That was his point. It was an exceedingly unfortunate instance to give. What he wanted to know was where we stood to-day in the educational history of this country. Did hon. Members really look upon this Bill as a new and potent factor in the religious education of the children? He was, as hon. Members knew, not concerned with the fact of whether it was Church of England or Nonconformist teaching, but he was concerned that it should be Christian teaching. Every year a new generation of children come forward to be brought up, and unless they were brought up in the doctrines of Christianity this country would fall behind as other countries had who had done without Christianity. [An HON. MEMBER: How about Japan?] Japan had been successful because she had tried to copy England and her morality was one founded upon Christianity. For many years the nation was satisfied to pay for education and not trouble itself about by whom it was given, and under that system many schools were built by the Church of England, by Nonconformists (and at one time there were many Nonconformist schools), by Roman Catholics, and others, but the Liberal Party in 1870 put an end to a system under which half the children of the country were educated. The Act of 1902 opened 28,000 school teaching-places to Nonconformists under fair conditions, but this Bill seemed to show that it was the policy of the Liberal Party to continue to supply education to the children against the will of the parents. Freedom would necessitate that if there were only thirty people in England who wanted it those thirty should get religious teaching for their children if it could be given to them. It now came to this, that the Government was going to say that the teaching was not so to be given. The Bill was now going to another place, and he would not care if it never came back. But what about the responsibility of the House of Commons in this matter? To him it was a grievous thing, as an Englishman, and as one who was sincerely desirous that Christianity should grow in England, that there should go from this House a Bill which was stifling education and one under which it was said that, however much religious education was desired, it could not be obtained.

DR. MACNAMARA (Camberwell, N.)

said that during the four months which had elapsed since the House first commenced to discuss this Bill three thoughts had strongly impressed themselves upon him. The first had been expressed by his right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to-day much more forcibly than he could express it, and that was the splendid candour, the grim purpose, and the delightful good temper with which the President of the Board of Education had conducted the Bill through the House. He had watched the right hon. Gentleman day by day with growing respect and admiration. He was indeed the— One strong man in a blatant land Who could act and dare not lie. The second thought was the remarkable change that had come over the temper of the Opposition as the debate proceeded. It began with fury and passion and frantic thumping of the drum ecclesiastic: but it had steadily moderated its tune and tone, until to-day it was a half apologetic pianissimo. It was true that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin had roared for the rejection of the Bill, but he roared '' as gently as any sucking dove." The Leader of the Opposition, speaking at the Albert Hall on May 2nd, said— the Government have introduced a Bill which has lit a flame of indignation from one end of England to the other, and which, if it passes —as I will never believe it can until I see it— will not merely be a monument of intolerant folly, but will light the fires of religious bitterness in every parish and every local authority throughout the kingdom. That impressed him very forcibly, as the right hon. Gentleman's utterances always did, but he went the other day to Bodmin and to Cockermouth, but he saw no flames and fires there. Then the Bishop of Manchester also went to the Albert Hall and denounced the Bill and said— It insulted their Church, outraged their sense of public morality and threatened their religious liberty, and they would not have it. He believed there had been some anxiety about Clause 13, however, which contained a million of money, but let that pass— they would reject it all from the first line to the last, and hid Mr. Speaker take it to the Terrace and pitch it into the Thames. He hoped Mr. Speaker when he received that order would adjourn the House in order that they too might go to the Terrace and see the interesting feat performed. He would submit this adaptation of a text to the Bishop— Cast thy Bill upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many days. At the outset the Bishop of Manchester raised a cry of confiscation, and hon. Members opposite adopted that cry, but then suddenly it dawned upon them that perhaps after all the local authorities might not want to take over these schools. Then they came down with tears in their eyes and begged the Government to compel the local authorities to confiscate their property— to use the absurd phraseology of opponents. That sharp change of front alone stamped the great bulk of the opposition to this Bill as hollow and insincere. The attack on Bible teaching— he absolved the Leader of the Opposition, who admitted that it was good and; wholesome—had also signally failed. There remained the gibe that this was not an Education Bill. As to that, it was a Bill to restore to the settlement of 1870 those principles so flagrantly violated by the Leader of the Opposition in 1902. By putting the appointment of the teachers in the hands of a majority of managers not responsible to the public the principle of popular control where rate aid was given was violated. The Government had restored it, and they had done more. They had given facilities for denominational teaching never given before in a rate-aided school; and all their difficulties had arisen from an endeavour to meet the denominationalists and to extend the principles of 1870 in their interest. Had the right lion. Gentleman come down with a simple Bill to restore the principles of the agreement of 1870 his path would have been easy. He would have had an enthusiastic Party behind him. All the right hon. Gentleman's trouble and anxiety had arisen from his desire to meet the denominationalists and extend the settlement in their favour. He (Dr. Macnamara) made no complaint about that endeavour; indeed he would have gone further. He would have met the hon. and learned Member for Water-ford and the hon. Member for Salford, and it was a little ignominious that they might yet have to meet the demands of those Gentlemen when the Bill was brought again to them from another place. So far as he was concerned he would have endeavoured to have met them in their own House. On the First Reading of this Bill he characterised it as an honest and painstaking endeavour to solve an almost insoluble proposition. He still said so, and he thought that with one exception—he entirely disagreed with the hon. Members for West Bam and South Dublin—every Amendment that had been made had made the Bill a better Bill. That exception was the "contracting out" Amendment. He should say that he had not noticed anything in the nature of obstruction to the Bill. There had been a big fight for principle on the part of the Opposition, but at the same time a most painstaking effort to improve the character of the Bill. He deeply regretted the Amendment providing for contracting out. It had been characterised by all as educationally reactionary, and it was wholly illiberal and against the principles of Liberalism to take a school, maintained as to seven-eighths of its income from public funds, out of popular control. There was nothing to prevent a Tory Government, by increasing the grants to these schools, from setting up again that Dual system which the Liberal Party was returned to destroy. He was sure it would be watched with the greatest care, and that no school would be allowed to contract out unless the managers gave a guarantee that they had enough money to carry on the school as efficiently as it would be carried on if taken over by the authority, He rejoiced at another Amendment that had been made, providing for the medical inspection of the children. That was worth the whole of the rest of the Bill put together, enabling them as it would to make an anthropometrical survey of the whole of the children in the country. He was also very grateful to both the Government and the Opposition for the generous manner in which they had associated themselves each with the other in the endeavour to provide something in the shape of an allowance for the teachers whose schools would be closed. But two things had not been done which ought to have been done. The denominational training colleges ought to have been thoroughly overhauled. It was perfectly monstrous that institutions which got all their money from public sources should be allowed to set up a denominational ring fence round their seats, and that a grievous injustice should be inflicted on young people who had gained their King's scholarship with great success but could not get on without a strong temptation being put in their way to change their faith. He ventured to say that that question could not remain in its present position. The Government would have at an early date to tackle the whole question in the interests of real freedom in the matter of teaching. They had not raised the age for half-time factory labour in this Bill. It had been said to-day that this Bill would be thrown out in another place. He did not think so, and never had thought so. There would be Amendments in another place; there would have to be a conference between the Houses, and give-and-take; but the Bill was going to pass into law. It would not be a settlement of the education question—that was too big a question to be settled in the course of one session—but it would go a long way towards a settlement, and he congratulated the Minister for Education on the great privilege of having contributed in so material a degree to the work of making the citizens of to-morrow fit for the great national heritage which would in due course fall into their hands.


The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down congratulated the Minister for Education on the privilege—the deserved privilege in the hon. Gentleman's view—of introducing into and carrying through this House an Education Bill. I do not know what the views of the right hon. Gentleman the Minister for Education may be, but it is a privilege which I have enjoyed in my time—I do not know that it is a privilege that I want again, and I am not absolutely sure that the Minister of Education, however we may differ in other matters, will greatly differ from me in that. The hon. Member for North Camberwell seems to think that our opposition to this Bill on its introduction was more vehement in its character than it is now, that our protests have weakened, if not in logical force, at all events in the energy with which they are delivered, and that we now find ourselves in a more acquiescent mood. I am not sure that I agree with the hon. Member. I admit that in hot weather it is difficult to give the same vigorous expression to one's feelings as in different climatic conditions. But I believe there is a more important cause for the change which the hon. Gentleman finds in our debates. I think most of us have begun to feel that the real discussion of this question is not now in this House and has not been for some time; the real discussion must be elsewhere; and everybody is perfectly reconciled to the fact that another place is going to deal with large tracts of the Bill which we have not found time even to touch upon, and, whatever the opinion of various Gentlemen may be, it is in the highest degree improbable that the Bill will come back in the shape in which it leaves us. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down controverted a prophecy of mine that this Bill would never pass. Does he think this Bill will ever pass? I do not think he or anybody else does.


I am not a believer in verbal inspiration like the right hon. Gentleman.


The fact is, as two or three hon. Members have said to-night, the time for argument in this House has not only passed, but has long been passed. We felt that the Government were determined to send the Bill up in a certain shape from this House. My conviction is that the House on both sides has long resolved that, if there are to be further changes made in this Bill, they are to be made elsewhere, and that fact must militate against the reality of our debates. At the same time, do not let it be supposed that the aversion with which we regard this Bill has at all altered either in character or in quality. The criticisms which were passed upon it months ago are criticisms to which we still adhere, and are prepared to fight for either in this House or in the country. I do not wish, of course, to traverse the whole field of our debates. It would be impossible in the time at my disposal and. if possible, it would be improper. But may I touch upon one or two salient points in this afternoon's discussion? The Government bring this Bill forward as a solution of the education question. About that the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Camberwell and I, who have fought this education question for many years, are perhaps less sanguine than the relative novices on the Treasury bench; we at all events take less sanguine views. They think, at all events, it is a solution of the question, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who made a rare incursion into our debates this afternoon, told us that, unless this Bill was founded on equality and justice, the settlement proposed by it was one that could not by any possibility last. Let us consider whether this Bill does do justice and does provide equality between the contending parties in the matter of religious education. May I say in a parenthesis that at this stage, owing to the limitations of time, I will touch on nothing except the religious aspect of the question, but, though I do not touch on other points, it does not follow that I am indifferent to them. The Chancellor of the 'Exchequer says that, unless this Bill embodies justice and equality, it is not an arrangement that can stand. Does it embody equality? Does it embody justice? I take first the ordinary Nonconformist view as distinguished from the passive resister's view. What does this Bill do for them? What grievance of theirs does it remedy? The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Solicitor-General told us there was an admitted grievance on the part of the Nonconformists, but they differed as to what their grievance was. One grievance was that the Nonconformists had to pay rates for denominational education, but another was that the Nonconformists could not get under the 1902 arrangement for the children the religious education they had a right to demand. In the first place, let me observe that, if the 1902 Bill differed from the previous settlement with regard to the religious education of Nonconformists, it differed in every single respect for the better. The hon. Gentlemen mentioned a number of things that were part of the arrangement of 1870, as that half the cost should be borne by the denomination, and that, if there was to be any rate-aid given, there should be full public control. I do not admit that that was part of the arrangement of 1870, but, however that may be, if you are going back to the speeches of 1870, part of the arrangement was that a 3d. rate should exhaust all the cost of the schools. If you are really going back to theobiter dictaof Ministers of that day—


No, the text of the Act.


I cannot say anything about the text of the Act, but fundamentally and essentially what the Act of 1902 did, was to leave the two great classes of schools in existence and efficient which were recognised by the Act of 1870, and they could not be left in existence and efficient under any other arrangement than that of the Act of 1902. [" Oh, oh ! "] Every change in the Act of 1902 was a change in favour of the Nonconformists, and, no one knowing the circumstances can contradict the statement. It is the irrefutable truth in every particular. What is the Nonconformist grievance as regards the education of Nonconformist children?


What about the single area schools?


The Act of 1902 did not make that grievance. It found that grievance and, did a great deal to remedy it.


It put the schools on the rates.


What has that to do with the education of the children? I am dealing with the point of the education of Nonconformist children, and does the hon. Member not know that the Act of 1902 made it possible for the first time for local authorities to provide schools out of public money and religious teaching out of public money wherever they thought the conditions of the district required it? The Act of 1902, as far as Nonconformist teachers and, education are concerned, was an improvement on the settlement of 1870. It was an improvement, because it allowed every teacher, except the head teacher, notwithstanding the trust deeds, to be a Nonconformist, because it allowed alternative schools to be built at the public cost, because it provided that every pupil teacher should be selected irrespective of creed. [" No, no ! "] In every particular, so far as the grievance referred to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer is concerned, the Act of 1902 was an enormous improvement upon the Act of 1870. I do not deny, in spite of all these improvements, that the condition of things was not left perfect by that Act either as regards Nonconformists or Churchmen, or other denominations. Consider exactly what the educational grievance is. The Government have made professions at short intervals throughout the whole of the three months discussion, which, in effect, come to this—that the schools are, after all, to go on under the new Bill very much as they did under the old Bill. Is that profession true, or is it not? Does the Bill carry it out? If the Bill does what the Government says it does, if the schools belonging to the denominations are to go on very much in the same way as before, how does it remedy any Nonconformist grievance? I admit that in single school areas the Nonconformists have not the teaching every day of the week, but they have it three days of the week. They have the tuition they desire. The Government say that the common practice in Church schools in country districts is this—three days a week of Cowper-Temple teaching, and on the other two days the Church catechism. Therefore, on three days a week under the existing system Nonconformist children have exactly the education which Nonconformist parents desire. [" No."] When they are speaking to hon. Members on this side of the House, they say, "We can assure you that the whole thing will go on as before."the right hon. Gentleman tells the Jews that their schools are to go on as before. He tells the Roman Catholics that 75 per cent, of the schools are to go on; and he tells the Church of England that under Clause 3 there would be no change that any one can notice. If that be so, where is the grievance of the Nonconformists? Or, if there be a grievance, how does the Bill remedy it I If the existing state of things does not give equality and justice to the Nonconformists, I am utterly unable to see how the new state of things will improve matters. Now I will come to the case of the passive resister. This Bill is supposed to give equality and justice to everybody, including the passive resister. His theory is this—that, while it is legitimate to require a man to pay taxes, some of which may go to denominational teaching, it is contrary to conscience to pay rates for the same purpose. I do not argue their conscientious objection, I accept their view of what their conscience commands. How does this Bill help them? It unquestionably requires that money shall be paid out of the rates for denominational teaching. It requires it under Clause 4 and under Clause 3, where the school is to be kept going and lighted and warmed out of the rates. Not a great gift, to the denomination, but how about the passive resister? His grievance is not determined by the mere magnitude of the sums concerned. With him it is a question of principle; and a single shilling, out of the rates spent on denominational education wounds his conscience as much as if it were £1,000. Then this Bill does not help him. Personally I think that this talk about, the amount contributed to education is exaggerated. Considering that in the ordinary school there is only an hour and a half a week devoted to denominational education, will any one say that a fair consideration for the use of the buildings of a voluntary school is not enough to pay for that teaching I But if the ratepayer pays under the existing system, he pays under this Bill. You do not relieve the conscience of the passive resister. Then how is the local authority benefited? Under the Act of 1870 and under the Act of 1902 the local authority was not required or permitted to concern itself with these religious and denominational controversies. But under Clause 3 of the present Bill this authority has to determine in the first place whether it will take over the denominational school, and then at what hour the denominational education shall take place, and the number of hours in the week to be devoted to it. Not more than two hours a week to any given child, but the number of actual hours per week of denominational teaching is to be handed over to this unforunate local authority. Under Clause 4 you also require the local authority to determine who the teachers shall be. Hon. Members below the gangway who are specially interested in Clause 4 say it is hopelessly inadequate at present to carry out the intention of the Government, which is that the local authority shall find Jewish teachers for Jewish schools, Roman Catholic teachers for Roman Catholic schools, Church teachers for Church schools, and, for anything I know to the contrary, Wesleyan teachers for Wesleyan schools, though that may be repudiated by some Wesleyan representatives in this House. Clause 4 schools have to be staffed by the local authority in accordance with the character of the school. That is not in the Bill, but it is in the speeches of the Government. Have the local authority much to thank you for in requiring them to fulfil these delicate and difficult tasks? I think it is right they should carry them out, but if you make the local authority find the teachers you should make them appoint' teachers so as to suit the religion desired by the parents of the children. While you require the local authority to do all these things you do not give it liberty or free it from the Cowper-Temple clause. You bind it in one direction; you free it in another. Do you treat the parent better than you treat the local authority? The Government have boasted of their kindness to the parent. As a matter of fact, they do recognise the parent in Clause 4, but do they recognise him anywhere else? If you are going to deal with this religious situation in a final manner and upset all the arrangements of 1870 and of 1902, it must be upon a parental foundation. You say the parents in this country want only Cowper-Temple teaching. You may be right, but give the parents the chance of saying so. Give them an opportunity of saying how they want their children taught. Then we shall know where we are, and I for one shall not protest against any system whomsoever it may favour— Roman Catholic, or Church of England, or Wesleyan, or Agnostic, or any other sect—so long as the parent is allowed to decide what religion it shall be. You do not do justice to the parent; do you do justice to the Church? The learned Solicitor-General appeared to think that the Church was the aggressor in all this matter. I do not get up in this House to speak in favour of any particular denomination. My view is that it is a parental question before any other, and this House and this Parliament have made cause with the Church which, I think, they should recognise. The Church before 1870 bore the great burden of education; since 1870 it has been asked to continue to bear that burden, and since 1902 it has expended vast sums in carrying out educational purposes. How do you propose to reward the Church? Almost every Member on your side who has spoken in favour of the Bill has indicated that, while he regards the consciences of Roman Catholics and Jews as consciences to be respected, he thinks that he has in his own keeping the consciences of members of the Church of England. I call that grossly unjust; I call that grossly unequal; I call it a violent interference with every principle of religious equality. The hon. and learned Gentleman told us that Nonconformists made great sacri fices in order to accept Cowper-Temple teaching. That is not the statement of the Nonconformists. They tell us that it is the teaching they like; that it is the teaching they desire for their children. It is quite fair, and so far as parents belonging to the Church of England agree with them let them have Cowper-Temple teaching. I do not quarrel with that; I approve of it. But there are parents who do not want that teaching. By what principle of common justice, by what principle of equity, by what principle of accepted Liberalism are you going to force upon them a kind of teaching which they do not want? The effect of this Bill is that it carries out no principle, that it embodies no coherent theory. It is neither based upon an historical foundation like the Act of 1902, nor does it embody any rational principle whatever. Its authors do not pretend to like it, those who are going to vote for it to-night largely vote for it in the hope that it will be altered in another place; and, though I do not deny that you may find scattered about its incoherent clauses here and there the principles upon upon which an ultimate settlement may be based, and might be based, I say it will require profound modification before out of this Bill you can manufacture anything in the nature of a final and coherent settlement. Its authors, and they are many, have not thought out the scheme they have brought before us. They are not prepared to defend it. It is denounced by some of their supporters on that side of the House; it is universally denounced by their supporters on this side. For my part if I did not believe, as I firmly do believe, that no Bill of this kind can possibly become law without the profoundest modification. I should look forward to to-night's division with a seriousness of apprehension which I must honestly confess I do not entertain on the present occasion.


With singular unanimity almost every speaker who has taken part in to-night's debate has agreed that the time for argument has gone by. Nevertheless to the best of his ability he has gone on arguing and unfortunately half an hour has been left to me—


Thirty-five minutes.


I wish it were only half an hour—to proceed on the same sad path. It is barely four months ago since I stood here, a highly nervous figure I admit, asking leave to introduce, not, indeed, this Bill—to say that would be to insult the utility of this House, even under the closure, as a consultative and deliberative body—but nevertheless a Bill which in all its main features and dominant characteristics was identical with the Bill that is now before the House. But although the time is short, a good many things have happened to me since then, and I am reminded as I stand here tonight of a famous passage of Shakespeare in which he contrasts the difference in appearance between a barque as it leaves port on its outward-going voyage, like a prodigal youngster, with the same vessel, still seaworthy but with "over-weather'd ribs and ragged sails," which makes its way to rest for a brief season in its desired haven. The over-weather'd ribs and ragged sails I take to be a poetical and therefore a highly exaggerated account of Clause 4 as amended, and these State-aided schools which excite the warm dislike of my hon. friend the Member for North Camberwell and, I freely admit, of myself also. However, this Bill has, I think, during our discussion become much better understood, and certainly the torrents of abuse with which it was received, and which, I own, for a few weeks well-nigh overwhelmed me, have entirely ceased, and I do not suppose there is even a prelate—a proud prelate, to use the language of a Gentleman opposite —who would recommend either this House or another place to treat this Bill with the ignominy and contempt which they then alleged it deserved. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has adopted, as indeed have many of his supporters, a somewhat curious attitude. They have said sometimes that this Bill does really nothing for the Nonconformists, and yet they have said that it is a Bill conceived in a spirit of deadly hatred and animosity to the Church of England—an odious imputation which I for one most entirely repudiate. I think when we consider the clauses of this Bill I am entitled to say that such an accusation ought nit to have been brought against either me or the Government of which I am a Member. Now the right hon. Gentleman has asked what this Bill does for Nonconformists. We have had very little attention paid in these debates to Clause 1, which has been almost unchallenged and has passed almost undiscussed It has occupied a very short time indeed, and its authority has been very little challenged either in the House or in the country. [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh ! "] Well, it does not live in my memory as that part of the Bill which was subjected to the most searching criticism at the hands of the Opposition. A great number of them have said in the House and country that after the last general election some such clause as Clause 1 was inevitable. Anyhow, there Clause 1 is, unaltered and unamended, and so it will go to another place. It secures for every Nonconformist in every village throughout the country an undenominational school within his reach. Clause 1 is what I called it once before, a charter of freedom to the village Nonconformist, and a Bill which contains that clause cannot truthfully or properly be said to be a Bill which did not relieve, did not entirely remove, the grievance which the right hon. Gentleman admits he found staring him in the face when he took up the problem in 1902, and which he left staring him in the face after he passed the Act. I say, therefore, that Clause 1 has relieved the Nonconformist grievance. Clause 7 has also relieved the teachers, set free the teachers' conscience, a matter of some importance to a vast and honourable profession. These two clauses taken by themselves fulfil pledges and work a mighty reform. I am not here to find fault with the Act of 1902, having administered it, as it has been my lot to do, for some months. I recognise, as indeed many of us have recognised, that it contains some admirable provisions. But the right hon. Gentleman failed, and he has admitted that he failed—I do not blame him, with his allies and his supporters he found it impossible. I know something of the difficulty of allies, and even the most powerful Minister, even a Prime Minister, seldom has all his own way, and I, therefore, being the humblest of Ministers, could not expect to have all my own way in this matter. Therefore, I do not blame the right hon. Gentleman for having been unable to deal with the grievance which he admitted he found, and which he left for us to deal with. I think, therefore, that Clauses 1 and 7 are very considerable achievements and very great reforms. Then there is the religious difficulty with which the right hon. Gentleman dealt. I have never been among those who quarrelled with the existence of the religious difficulty. I regret, of course, that it should exist, we all must; but I do not wonder that it does exist, nor am I angry, if you can imagine such a thing, with my fellow-countrymen for attaching the great importance which they do to this subject. I have been told by many Gentlemen below the gangway and on this side of the House, "Oh, think more,"they say, "of the children; think of them and them alone. Consider the doctor, secure compulsory medical inspection, see that nurses are employed, bind up their wounds, and attend to their minor ailments, look after their playgrounds, organize their games, sec to their vacation." All excellent things, things that are done in this Bill, with, I gladly admit, the universal support of the whole House, and not least with the support of Gentlemen who are sitting immediately opposite me. We have done these things, but they do not go the whole way. I would venture to say to Gentlemen below the gangway if they say, "Think only of the child "—" Yes, but what is the child, whence came it, whether goeth it?" Conscience, sin, immortality, are you going to drive all those things out of the ordinary curriculum of the school life? Are you going to leave these things as if they were of no account? Were this House disposed to do so, which by an overwhelming majority it showed it would not, the parents of the children would not let you do it, nor would the children themselves, at all events for a good many generations to come, and I appeal to hon. Gentleman below the Gangway in this matter, not to throw themselves readily or eagerly into the path of those who advocate purely secular education. I would urge them of all men, they who dreams and see visions of a good time coming, when the condition of the poor and the miserable will so poison the existence of the rich and the comfortable as to make all society combine to do all that it can to redeem that lot —I ask them to remember, in that great effort, where are they to look for the leverage which is to accomplish that mighty revolution? Where are they to find the alkahest which is to transmute the base metal of selfishness into the pure gold of altruism? I say they will find Christianity to be the potent force which will ever be the best friend of the poor and helpless man. Were it said, "All that may be struck out and handed over to the purely voluntary efforts of those great organisations we compendiously call the Churches, I do not think that can safely or properly be done, and it has been the main object and the passionate desire of this Government to do what it can to secure throughout this country as an ordinary rule and principle of our school life that religious education should be given. And how is it to be done? We believe, we may of course be quite wrong, but we have turned this matter over in a thousand different ways, we have considered all the difficulties and all the obstacles that meet anybody who advocates religious education in this country, and we have deliberately come to the conclusion—and nothing has shaken my mind since first I began to think night and day of this subject—that the best way of doing that is to make undenominational teaching of the kind authorised by the Act of 1870, which has behind it the experience of thirty-six years, the ordinary rule of all the schools. We are told that this is unfair. The noble Lord the Member for East Marylebone, who made many interesting and powerful speeches on the Bill, has read the syllabuses, and says he finds nothing in them to make a child attached to the Church of England. But let him look into the actual facts of the case. I was speaking the other day to a Member of the House who knows about board schools and Church schools, not as things to be supported, but as places where to send his children. He was blessed with five daughters, three of whom were educated in board schools, and two in Church schools. the three who were educated in board schools, said he, are confirmed and communicating members of the Church of England, and the two who were educated in Church schools are stern and unbending Nonconformists. I am not going to treat the five daughters of my hon. friend so rudely as to build any theory upon them, but I commend their case to the noble Lord. I do not believe that this education which has been given for six and thirty years in our board schools has in a single instance proved hostile to a child joining with heartiness, comfort, and joy either the Church of England or any other religious denomination. The fact is that in early life, the capacity of children being limited, denominational differences do not cut so deeply as some suppose. I agree with the Archbishop of Canterbury that religious instruction is very badly given. I have heard it given again and again in board schools and in Church schools, and I very seldom heard it given otherwise than badly. That is a criticism not of the system, but of the teacher. Others things are also badly taught. I went the other day to a board school and hoard a French lesson, and, though I make no pretence of being a French scholar, I was in the school more than ten minutes before I knew what the lesson was about. These are criticisms of methods, not of principles. The well trained teacher is the thing we want. A good teacher can teach Cowper-Templeism so as to make it beautiful, charming, and most interesting. [OPPOSITION cries of "No."] I quite agree with much of what the hon. Member for Waterford has said. I have never disguised my sympathy with the cause he represents. But I cannot agree with him that Cowper-Temple religious instruction is a thing perfectly hateful to Roman Catholics. Many strange things come to the knowledge of a Minister for Education. I know that many parents of Roman Catholic children who attended the board schools have admitted that their children have received advantage from the simple undenominational teaching which is given in those schools. There are in those old board schools also many scores of Roman Catholic teachers, devoted men and women, who give CowperTemple religious instruction every day of their lives, and they find it no injury either to their faith or their passion for the church to which they belong. While we admit the differences that divide us, let us not, for Heaven's sake, exaggerate them, and make them out to be more serious. We had to grapple with the religious difficulty. We grappled with it in a certain way. We knew the opposition we should meet with from various quarters. But our object being to secure the maximum of religious instruction in the greatest number of schools, we came to the conclusion that it was only by adhering to the system of undenominational teaching that we could secure a wide system of religious instruction which excludes the formularies distinctive of religious sects, but which allows the teacher to put the whole force of his religious character into his religious teaching, a character without which his teaching would be vain, no matter to what denomination he belongs. If he has not got it it does not matter what he calls himself; if he has the teacher's gift, then, indeed, even through the so-called "dry bones" of this Cowper-Templeism, he can impart to the children who fall under his influence all the elements of sound religion and deep-rooted piety. We have kept our pledges. We have secured popular control. The right hon. Gentleman says, what is the value of it if you put all sorts of burdens on the local authority? So it will. That is the look-out of the local authority. I have never known a local authority which despised new duties or shirked new administration. We have secured popular control; we have secured through all the villages undenominational schools for the children of Nonconformists. Then, it is said, that in doing this we have inflicted grievous wrong and injury on the Church of England. I do not believe it. I should be very sorry if I thought that any action or word of mine had done any harm to the Church of England as a spiritual body. I care nothing for it in any other capacity. I believe that this Bill, so far from doing it any harm, as a spiritual organisation, will remove and disperse a black cloud of suspicion and dislike, which for 200 years and more has hung over it in the matter of education. So far from doing injury to the Church of England, this Bill, if properly carried out, if due effect is given to its provisions, will strengthen the Church of England and make it far more popular in the country districts than it has been in the past, and relieve it from a cloud of suspicion, dislike, and sometimes, I am afraid, of actual hatred. I therefore claim that this Bill will not substantially injure the Church of England. It will secure, in the first place, where the schools are taken over, their catechetical teaching, the rent for their premises, which will enable them to obtain, if necessary, such outside assistance as they require. They may give it in the school, or under Clause 6 they may give it in the church. They may take away the child altogether during the three-quarters of an hour of instruction. This freedom will be restored to them, the power and the control of the clergy, the loss of which they resented so bitterly in 1902, when it was taken from them, will to some considerable extent be restored to them. I say that as a spiritual instrument their position, so far from being worse, will be better under the provisions of this Bill. Perhaps it is better they should not know the feelings entertained towards the Church of England by many a poor Primitive Methodist and Nonconformist. These things cannot go on during long years of

dominancy, handed down from father to son. [A laugh.] Oh, yes; it is easy to laugh and sneer. I have not spent my life among Nonconformists for nothing. The dominancy which the Church has exercised in the matter of education for many a decade this Bill will remove, and it will not injure by one jot or tittle the catechetical knowledge or the Prayer Book knowledge of any child of future days. I say to the lovers of education and to the lovers of religion that I believe that this Bill will aid and abet both these great causes. The Bill leaves us to-night. It goes elsewhere. Many have spoken of what is going to happen elsewhere. I have no such knowledge. I indulge in no speculation on the subject. Their responsibility rests with thorn, and with thorn alone. They can do whatever they choose to this Bill. In parting with the Bill I have to thank the House for the great kindness and invariable courtesy with which they have received me, inexperienced in those matters, from first to last. I am not sorry that my first efforts in trying to pass a Bill through this House should have been one connected with a subject which, after all, whatever our opinions may be, goes deep down into the very vitals of the future of our people.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes,369; Noes, 177. (Division List No. 284.)

Acland, Francis Dyke Bell, Richard Bryce, J. A. (Inverness Burghs)
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Bellairs, Carlyon Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn
Agnew, George William Benn, SirJ. Williams(Devonp'rt Buckmaster, Stanley O.
Ainsworth, John Stirling Benn, W.(T'w'rHamlets,S. Geo. Burns, Rt. Hn. John
Alden, Percy Berridge, T. H. D. Burnyeat, W. J. D.
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Bertram, Julius Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Bethell, J. H. (Essex, Romford Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Chas.
Armitage, R. Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Byles, William Pollard
Ashton, Thomas Gair Billson, Alfred Cairns, Thomas
Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Cameron, Robert
Astbury, John Meir Black. Arthur W. (Bedfordshire Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.
Atherley-Jones L. Bolton. T.D.(Derbyshire, N.E.) Carr-Gomm, H. W.
Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth) Bottomley, Horatio Causton,Rt.Hn. Richard Knight
Baker, Joseph A. (Finstmry, E. Boulton. A. C. F. (Ramsey) Cawley, Frederick
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Brace, William Chance, Frederick William
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Bramsdon, T. A. Channing, Francis Allston
Barlow, John Emmott(Somerset Brigg, John Cheetham, John Frederick
Barlow. Percy (Bedford) Bright. J. A. Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.
Barnard, E. B. Brocklehurst, W. B. Churchill, Winston Spencer
Barran. Rowland Hirst Brodie, H. C. Clarke, C. Goddard
Beale, W. P. Brooke, Stopford Cleland, J. W.
Beaumont, Hubert (Eastbourn Brunner, J. F.L.(Lanes., Leigh) Clough, W.
Beaumont. W. C. B. (Hexham) Brunner, Sir JohnT.(Cheshire) Coats, SirT.Glen(Renfrew, W.)
Beck, A. Cecil Bryce, Rt.Hn.James (Aberdeen Cobbold, Felix Thornley
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) Marks, G.Croydon(Launceston
Collins,SirWm.J.(S.Pancras,W. Haworth, Arthur A. Marnham, F. J.
Cooper, G. J. Hazel, Dr. A. E. Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Hedges, A. Paget Massie, J.
Corbett, CH.(Sussex,E.Grinst'd Helme, Norval Watson Masterman, C. F. G.
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Menzies, Walter
Cory, Clifford John Henderson, J.M.(Aberdeen, W. Micklem, Nathaniel
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Henry, Charles S. Molteno, Percy Alport
Cowan, W. H. Herbert, Col. Ivor (Mon., S.) Mond, A.
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe) Montagu, E. S.
Cremer, William Randal Higham, John Sharp Montgomery, H. G.
Crombie, John William Hobart, Sir Robert Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)
Crooks, William Hobhouse, Charles E. H. Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)
Crosfield, A. H. Hodge, John Morley, Rt. Hon. John
Crossley, William J. Holden, E. Hopkinson Morrell, Philip
Davies, David (MontgomeryCo. Holland, Sir Wiliam Henry Morse, L. L.
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion) Hope, John Deans (Fife, West) Morton, Alpheus Cleophas
Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan Hope,W. Bateman(Somerset,N Myer, Horatio
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Horniman, Emslie John Napier, T. B.
Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Hudson, Walter Newnes, Sir George (Swansea)
Dickinson, W.H.(St.Pancras,N Hyde, Clarendon Nicholls, George
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Idris, T. H. W. Nicholson, Chas.N.(Doncast'r)
Dobson, Thomas W. Illingworth, Percy H. Norman, Henry
Duckworth, James Isaacs, Rufus Daniel Norton, Capt. Cecil William
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Jackson, R. S. Nussey, Thomas Willans
Dunne, MajorE.Martin(Walsall Jacoby, James Alfred Nuttall, Harry
Edwards, Clement (Denbigh) Jardine, Sir J. O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)
Edwards, Enoch (Hanley) Jenkins, J. Parker, James (Halifax)
Edwards, Frank (Radnor) Johnson, John (Gateshead) Partington, Oswald
Elibank, Master of Johnson, W. (Nuneaton) Paul, Herbert
Ellis, Rt. Hon John Edward Jones, Sir D.Brynmor(Swansea Paulton, James Mellor
Erskine, David C. Jones, Leif (Appleby) Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)
Essex, R. W. Jones, William(Carnarvonshire Pearee, William (Limehouse)
Eve, Harry Trelawney Jowett, F. W. Pearson, Sir W. D. (Colchester)
Everett, R. Lacey Kearley, Hudson E. Perks, Robert William
Faber, G. H. (Boston) Kekewieh, Sir George Philipps, Col.Ivor(S'thampton)
Fenwick, Charles Kincaid-Smith, Captain Philipps, J.Wynford(Pembroke
Ferens, T. R. King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)
Ferguson, R. C. Munro Kitson, Sir James Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Laidlaw, Robert Pirie, Duncan V.
Findlay, Alexander Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster Pollard, Dr.
Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester) Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central
Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Lambert, George Price, RobertJohn(Norfolk, E.)
Freeman-Thomas, Freeman Lamont, Norman Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)
Fuller, John Michael F. Langley, Batty Priestley, W. E.B. (Bradford,E.
Fullerton, Hugh Layland-Barratt, Francis Radford, G. H.
Furness, Sir Christopher Leese,Sir, JosephF. (Accington Rainy, A. Rolland
Gardner, Col. Alan(Hereford,S.) Lehmann, R. C. Raphael, Herbert H.
Gibb, James (Harrow) Lever, A. Levy(Essex,Harwich Rea, Russell, (Gloucester)
Gill, A. H. Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral) Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'
Gladstone, Rt.Hn.HerbertJohn Levy, Maurice Rees, J. D.
Glendinning, R. G. Lewis, John Herbert Kendall, Athelstan
Goddard, Daniel Ford Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David Renton, Major Leslie
Gooch, George Peabody Lough, Thomas Richards, Thomas(W.Monm'th
Grant, Corrie Lupton, Arnold Richardson, A.
Greenwood, G. Peterborough) Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Rickett, J. Compton
Greenwood, Hamar (York) Lyell, Charles Henry Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Lynch, H. B. Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Griffith, Ellis J. Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester) Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)
Grove, Archibald Macdonald,J.M. (FalkirkB'ghs Robertson, Rt.Hn.E.(Dundee)
Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Mackarness, Frederic C. Robertson, SirG.Scott(Bradf'rd
Gulland, John W. Maclean, Donald Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)
Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Robinson, S.
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. M'Arthur, William Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis M'Callum, John M. Roe, Sir Thomas
Hardie, J.Keir (MerthyrTydvil M'Kenna, Reginald Rogers, F. E. Newman
Hardy, George A. (Suffolk) M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester) Rose, Charles Day
Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Wore'r) M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.) Rowlands, J.
Hart-Davies, T. M'Micking, Major G. Runciman, Walter
Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Mallet, Charles E. Russell, T. W.
Haslam, James (Derbyshire) Manfield, Harry (Northants) Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Mansfield, H. Rendall(Lincoln)
Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland) Summerbell, T. Waterlow, D. S.
Scarisbrick, T. T. L. | Sutherland, J. E. Watt, H. Anderson
Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde) Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Schwann, Sir C.E. (Manchester) Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe) Weir, James Galloway
Scott, A.H.(Ashton under Lyne Tennant, SirEdward(Salisbury Whitbread, Howard
Sears, J. E. Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire) White, George (Norfolk)
Seaverns, J. H. Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E. White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)
Shackleton, David James Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E. White, Luke (York, E. R.)
Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford) Thomasson, Franklin Whitehead, Rowland
Shaw,Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.) Thompson. J.W.H.(Somerset,E Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)
Shipman, Dr. John G. Tillett, Louis John Wiles, Thomas
Silcock, Thomas Ball Tomkinson, James Wilkie, Alexander
Simon, John Allsebrook Torrance, Sir A. M. Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John Toulmin, George Williams, Llewelyn(Carmarthn
Sloan, Thomas Henry Ure, Alexander Williamson, A.
Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie Verney, F. W. Wills, Arthur Walters
Snowden, P. Villiers, Ernest Amherst Wilson, Henry,J. (York, W. R.)
Soames, Arthur Wellesley Vivian, Henry Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)
Spicer, Sir Albert Walker, H. De R, (Leicester) Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Stanger, H. Y. Wallace, Robert Winfrey, R.
Stanley, Hn.A.Lyulph(Chesh.) Walsh, Stephen Wodehouse, Lord(Norfolk,Mid
Steadman, W. C. Walters, John Tudor Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Stewart, Halley (Greenock) Walton, Sir John L. (Leeds, S.) Woodhouse, SirJ.T. (Huddersfd
Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal) Walton, Joseph (Barnsley) Yoxall, James Henry
Strachey, Sir Edward Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent
Straus, B. S. (Mile End) Ward, W. Dudley(Southamptn TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.
Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon) Warner, Thomas Courtenay T. Whiteley and Mr. J. A.
Stuart, James (Sunderland) Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney Pease.
Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.) Dixon-Hartland, SirFredDixon Houston, Robert Paterson
Anson, Sir William Reynell Dolan, Charles Joseph Hunt, Rowland
Arkwright, John Stanhope Doughty, Sir George Joyce, Michael
Ashley, W. W. Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.
Balcarres, Lord Du Cros, Harvey Kennedy, Vincent Paul
Baldwin, Alfred Duffy, William J. Keswick, William
Balfour, Rt.Hn.A.J.(CityLond. Duncan,Robert (Lanark, Govan Kimber, Sir Henry
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Esmonde, Sir Thomas King, SirHenrySeymour(Hull)
Banner, John S. Harmood- Faber, George Denison (York) Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.
Baring, Hon. Guy (Winchester) Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.) Lane-Fox, G. R.
Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N. Fardell, Sir T. George Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Farrell, James Patrick Lee,ArthurH.(Hants.,Fareham
Beach, Hn.MichaelHugh Hicks Fell, Arthur Long, Col. Chas. W.(Evesham)
Beckett, Hon. Gervase Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey Long, Rt.Hn.Walter(Dublin,S.
Boland, John Ffrench, Peter Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Bowles, G. Stewart Field, William Lowe, Sir Francis William
Bridgeman, W. Clive Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Lundon, W.
Burdett-Coutts, W. Flavin, Michael Joseph Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred
Burke, E. Haviland- Fletcher, J. S. MacIver, David (Liverpool)
Butcher, Samuel Henry Flynn, James Christopher Macpherson, J. T.
Carlile, E. Hildred Forster, Henry William MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.
Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H. Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) MacVeigh, Chas. (Donegal, E.)
Castlereagh, Viscount Ginnell, L. M'Hugh, Patrick A.
Cave, George Glover, Thomas M'Kean, John
Cavendish, Rt. Hn. Victor C.W. Haddock, George R. M'Killop, W.
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Halpin, J. Magnus, Sir Philip
Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey- Hamilton, Marquess of Marks, H. H. (Kent)
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Hammond, John Mason, James F. (Windsor)
Clancy, John Joseph Hardy, Laurence(Kent, Ashford Meagher, Michael
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Harrington, Timothy Meehan, Patrick A.
Cogan, Denis J. Harrison-Broadley, Col. H. B. Meysey-Thompson, E. C.
Condon, Thomas Joseph Hay, Hon. Claude George Mooney, J. J.
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Hayden, John Patrick Morpeth, Viscount
Courthope, G. Loyd Hazelton, Richard Muntz, Sir Philip A.
Cox, Harold Heaton, John Henniker Murnaghan, George
Craig, Chas. Curtis (Antrim, S. Helmsley, Viscount Murphy, John
Craik, Sir Henry Hervey, F.W.F.(BuryS.Edm'd Nannetti, Joseph P.
Crean, Eugene Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury) Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield
Cullinan, J. Hill, Henry Staveley (Staff'sh.) Nield, Herbert
Dalrymple, Viscount Hogan, Michael Nolan, Joseph
Delany, William Hornby, Sir William Henry O'Brien, Kendal(TipperaryMid
O'Connor, James(Wicklow, W. Ratcliff, Major R. F. Sullivan, Donal
O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel Talbot, Rt. Hn.J.G. (Oxf'dUniv
O'Doherty, Philip Reddy, M. Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark
O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Redmond, John E. (Waterford Thornton, Percy M.
O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.) Redmond, William (Clare) Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire
O'Dowd, John Remnant, James Farquharson Walrond, Hon. Lionel
O'Grady, J. Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent,Mid
O'Hare', Patrick Rutherford, John (Lancashire) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
O'Kelly, James (Roscommon,N Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool) Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)
O'Malley, William Salter, Arthur Clavell Willoughby, de Eresby, Lord
O'Mara, James Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert Wilson, A. Stanley(York, E.R.
O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens Sheehan, Daniel Daniel Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Sheehy, David Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend Smith, AbelH.(Herftord, East) Younger, George
Parkes, Ebenezer Smith, F.E.(Liverpool, Walton
Pease, HerbertPike(Darlington Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir
Percy, Earl Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S. Alexander Acland-Hood and
Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Stanley, Hon.Arthur(Ormskirk Viscount Valentia.
Power, Patrick Joseph Starkey, John R.
Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne Stone, Sir Benjamin

Question put, and agreed to.