§ Again considered in Committee.
§ Question again proposed, "That a sum not exceeding £2,200, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 891 1908, for a Grant in Aid of the Expenses of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland."
§ MR. KETTLE,
resuming his speech, said he was speaking of the existence of this extraordinary anomaly. It was a fact that at the present time any professor appointed to a chair in any of the three Queen's Colleges must, before he took office, sign a declaration that during his continuity of office in his professorial capacity he would not in any way suggest teachings or express opinions contrary to the doctrines of revealed religion. That was the case as it stood now. English Members had satisfied themselves that the cause of the failure of the Queen's Colleges scheme (and everybody admitted it was a failure) was the blind and malignant opposition of the Catholic bishops to review it in its historical aspect. They had the scheme set up in 1845, when there was a very different state of things in Ireland. In Ireland their scheme of primary education had been working badly, and there was no State system of secondary education. In England both Oxford and Cambridge were strictly denominational Universities with tests. Those were facts which should be taken into consideration. Everybody admitted that the colleges had failed to satisfy the demand of the people of Ireland for University education, That was driven home and emphasised in the Reports of both Royal Commissions. As it stood, the position was that Bolfast was becoming Presbyterian; Galway had never been a success as a college, but it had produced some men of considerable distinction; and Cork had always occupied a middle position between mediocre success and complete failure. Those three institutions had an endowment from public funds of about £40,000, supplemented in Belfast and Cork by private endowments. Between the three they gave some sort of University education, in conjunction with the Royal University, to about 700 students. They were all three provincial, one in the extreme northeast, one in the west, and the other in the south. The only metropolitan institution of any kind that worked like the Queen's Colleges in connection with the University was University College in St. Stephen's Green. That differed from the Queen's Colleges in that it was built, not out of public funds, but out of 892 funds privately raised by the Catholics of Ireland in the time of Cardinal Newman in 1854. If they took the income of the three Queen's Colleges they found they had £40,000, but the entire income of University College, including the salaries of the professors, was only about £7,000. If they com pared the results achieved by the three endowed colleges with the results of University College they would find in every year and every examination for at least the last five years that the single unendowed University had secured more first-class honours and distinctions of every kind than the three Queen's Colleges put together. What was the University question in Ireland? It was that the University College population was practically the same as that of their other University institutions, but that while they gave £7,000 a year to the population which happened to be mainly Roman Catholic, they gave more than £7,000 a year to other colleges where the population was not mainly Roman Catholic. The three colleges worked in connection with the Royal University, which really served two functions. It served as a sort of conduit or channel through which certain public funds passed for the endowment of the Queen's Colleges and University College, and as a conduit pipe it had strange properties, obnoxious to the consciences of certain gentlemen in this country who held strong views on that subject. That enabled them to endow a Jesuit College. The other function of the Royal University was to examine the students of those colleges, and to award degrees on the basis of those examinations. In fact, as a university, the Royal had what might be called an occasional existence He might be pardoned for occupying the time of the Committee with story. The Royal University was a building in Earls-fort Terrace. A couple of years ago a friend of his who was awarded a medal for English verse went there for examination. He said to the hall porter, "What institution is this?" The porter replied, "You know very well it is the Royal University of Ireland." ''Well," said his friend, "the last time I was round here it was a flower show." When it was not in use for educational purposes, the building of the Royal University was assigned to such uses as 893 hygienic exhibitions and flower shows. How far did the Royal University go towards satisfying the demand for university education in Ireland? In dealing with that question he proposed to confine himself to the deliberate judgment of the Royal Commissions which had reported upon it, for a Royal Corn- mission seemed to be hedged about by a certain divinity. The Royal Commission of 1901 said—The system suffers from incurable defects. A false conception of learning is thus held up before the eyes of the student."It said further that in regard to its constitution the Royal University was—a political makeshift which is educationally indefensible."It also said—The present arrangement by which the degrees of the Royal University are obtainable by examination alone has lowered the ideal of university life and education in Ireland, and should be abolished.''Another Commission had pointed out that in connection with the system of education represented by the Royal University in Ireland a great many evil things existed. It concluded by saying that in public discussions in Ireland every form of economic heresy was right. Perhaps he should not mention that for fear it might make the Royal Commission popular with the Opposition. And yet, though that Royal University "was deliberately condemned four years ago, the Government of the country had put nothing whatever in its place. The need for university education in Ireland had continued to increase. The figures as to the number of students who had come to attend the examinations and take degrees at this institution showed that in 1904 there were 3,267, that they rose in 1905 to over 3,400, in 1906 to 3,700, and in the present year to about 4,000. By the present system of education they were compelling men of the brightest intellects in Ireland to go to an institution, the degrees of which they had reduced to a sort of educational broad arrow. That Report had been in existence since 1903, and no attempt had been made to act upon it. In all the schemes of reform that had been proposed, the very key to the situation, the point of difference between these schemes had been— did they include Trinity College and take Trinity College into the general fabric of national life, or did they leave 894 it out and allow it to continue in its present condition of privileged isolation? Why was it that the great majority of the people of Ireland had continuously refused to attend Trinity College? If there were no religious objection, there would be a great objection on grounds of national feeling. If neither of these held good there would be objection on the ground of bad equipment and educational inefficiency. At this moment Trinity College was not either Irish, or modern, or free. When the authorities of Trinity had pleaded for its maintenance they had always based their case on these three questions. Trinity College had been continuously described in that House as a fortress of anti-Irish feeling. Trinity College was the Dublin Castle of the Irish educational system. Surely it should be the duty of a national university to show hospitality to every lover of freedom. The hospitality shown by Trinity College towards the idea of freedom of education in Ireland was the hospitality shown by the Bastille towards certain French persons touched with ideas of freedom towards the end of the eighteenth century. One would think that students would be taught at Trinity the rights of national pride and power, but what did the professor of history say before the recent Commission? He said:—I may be mistaken, but [believe I was the first to deliver a lecture on Irish history in Trinity College.''Trinity College had existed for 300 years, and the first lecture on Irish history was delivered in 1905? A professor who gave evidence before the Commission and spoke on behalf of the teachers of Latin in Trinity who spent their valuable lives in removing the textual corruptions of Juvenal and inculcating his moral corruptions in their full integrity, said that any ancient Irish literature they had was silly if it was not indecent, or indecent if it was not silly, and that the greater part of it was both silly and indecent. Happily, there was going on a certain change of spirit in Trinity College. It had developed an enormous capacity for self-admiration. Trinity College was making the most of the fact that one of the youngest professors, Mr. E. J. Gwynn, was doing valuable work in connection with the subject he had been appointed to teach. He remembered that four or five years ago a professor was brought over from 895 Liverpool to Dublin in order to teach scholars the Irish necessary for technical equipment and to make their work effective. The lectures were delivered first in a hall near Trinity College and afterwards in a little room in a private house in Dorset Street. From that point of view Trinity College was not Irish. But was Trinity College Irish in the constitution of its students? One of the most remarkable things about the majority of the really capable defenders of Trinity who happened to be Irish by birth was that they were very seldom people who went to Trinity themselves. It was rather curious, in the face of the defence put forward for the high standard of Trinity education, that the son of the: present Chancellor of Trinity College was a student of two English universities. Trinity College was not modern in its ideas and equipment. Even its own friends admitted that it was a university of the classical type. What was the characteristic of a modern university? Surely the characteristic of a modern university was that it laid stress, not upon classical teaching, but upon science and even' pursuit that increased the command of the human mind over matter and the source of wealth. In England they were not confined for University education to Oxford or Cambridge. Large scientific Universities like Liverpool. Birmingham, Leeds, and London had been founded. But in Trinity College the classics filled the whole field of University training. What did they understand in modern times by a University education of a scientific character? Lot them go to France and study the career of such a man as Pasteur who was the very best type of the modern University man. They would not find such a man employing his time in correcting Greek and Latin texts. Pasteur was a Catholic — a man whom hon. Members from Ulster would describe as living in the bonds of mental slavery and in the fetters of Catholic belief." What they wanted to see in Ireland was such men as Pasteur, trained in their own University. What had Pasteur done? He laid the foundations of the science of bacteriology, and his researches had been turned into practical use by his students and followers. The vine in France was attacked by a ruinous disease; Pasteur discovered a means of fighting it and saving the wine industry. The 896 whole silk industry of France was-threatened by a disease amongst the silk worms; Pasteur, by his scientific investigations, provided a remedy. By means of those discoveries Pasteur presented to his native country a sum equal to the indemnity which France had to pay to Germany after the Franco-Prussian war. That was what they wanted for the Catholic people of Ireland. What had Trinity College done for science in Ireland? There was only one man of great distinction identified with it— the late Professor George Francis Fitzgerald — and he in a lecture delivered in 1896, said—Why is it that we are so far behind in Ireland? Is it the fault of the farmers or the industrial classes? No, it is the fault of one educational system. The Intermediate Board will not allow boys in an agricultural college to learn botany. Trinity College will not allow students in their first year to learn experimental science for fear it might encourage the schools to teach children scientific methods. It is all very well to complain that the industrial classes are not industrious. That may lie all true, but who is it that sets the example of being content with what their father did? It is the Board of Intermediate Education and the authorities at Trinity College, Dublin.That was the testimony as to the work which Trinity College had done for the scientific training of the youth of Ireland. And later on Professor Fitzgerald said—How can we expect any other result when the educational machinery of the country is controlled by a lot of very worthy old bookworms—— these were the senior fellows of Trinity College—with more sympathy with the theory of equations and with Greek verse than with the industrial welfare of Ireland.That was the testimony of its own most distinguished scientist, and in the Papers and Memoranda submitted to the recent Commission by the professors of Trinity College itself would be found the same story. So far as modern science teaching was concerned, Trinity College was a negligible quantity in the scholastic world. Then there was the question of the alleged secular character of Trinity College. Trinity College was neither Irish nor modern in its ideas of equipment. He would wait with very considerable interest to hear what could be-said in defence of it. He came now to a question of the first importance, and that was as to the freedom from religious 897 restrictions in Trinity College since 1873. He would quote two passages from the evidence given by Dr. Traill, who was not only a land owner but a professor of new kinds of bad grammar— before] the Royal Commission. He was asked —You would not allow one of your professors to teach his class Atheism?And his answer was—We never would ask the question unless it were brought under our notice in a most extraordinary way.Then he was asked—But if it were brought under your notice?"What do yon mean by Atheism?" "That there is no God.If he did that as against religion lie might be interfered with: but if he meant that investigation in physics and so forth led him to that conclusion, we would not interfere with him.He left the Committee to follow that explanation, whose subtlety and profundity he could not appreciate, probably for the reason that he had not a Trinity College education. But there was another gentleman who said that Trinity College was a University without tests, viz., Dr. J. K. ingrain, who stated in the Positivist Recieu—Long a silent student and observer of the events and tendencies of my time, and regarding myself as under an implied contract not to interfere with the religious ideas of the young persons whoso literary instruction was entrusted to me—— he was then Professor of Political Economy—I do not, now that I am free from any such obligation, fee justified in continuing this reticence to the end.''Now let them consider what was the demand as expressed both by Catholic laymen and by Catholic Bishops on the question. They asked, as they had again and again asked, not for a denominational University, not for an institution from which anybody would be excluded because of religion, but in most definite fashion, for a University institution which would have no tests whatever. He need only go back to the present year when Mr. Bryce, before leaving for America, announced a scheme of University reform, which had never been abandoned as he understood it, but still held the field. Mr. Bryce sketched a plan of University institutions entirely without tests. The scholarships, professorships, and endowments of every kind would be open to any 898 man, whatever his religion. And what was the answer of the Catholic Bishops? It might have been known. In 1887 they published a declaration which would be found in the Robertson Commission Report. The Report of the Commission stated in the most clear and unmistakeable language that what the Catholics of Ireland wanted was an institution without tests, and on the governing body of which would be a preponderance of laymen. There was laid before the Commission a letter written originally as a private letter from the Archbishop of Dublin to Sir Antony MacDonnell in which he said—You are quite right in your recollection that the Catholic Bishops of Ireland have long since declared in the most formal manner that the Catholic claims in the matter of University education can be adequately met without the setting up of any system of religious tests.They would all be glad of the opportunity of reading the private letters which had passed between the Leader of the Opposition and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover. The Archbishop went on to recapitulate the declaration of 1897, and concluded by saying that in January, 1894, he had been consulted by Mr. Wyndham as to whether the University question could be settled on the basis of the Dunraven scheme, which was understood to be submitted on behalf of the Government, and that the Bishops answered in the affirmative. The Archbishop was consulted by Mr. Wyndham as to whether the matter could be settled on that basis, and in consequence there was on 16th April, 1907, a declaration by the Bishops to this effect—As to the particular plan of reform on which the Government has resolved to proceed, it is, in our opinion, quite possible, within the general outline of that plan, to meet substantially the claims that we have repeatedly put forward on behalf of the Catholic body of Ireland.They said further—We are prepared to accept it as final, and as far as we are concerned, the end of the agitation which we have so long maintained.When Mr. Bryce put forward his scheme at the beginning of this year, they went out to meet him and told him that it should be settled on the same basis and without any sacrifice of principle on the part either of Ireland or of the English Radicals. That scheme which Mr. Bryce definitely put forward with the assent of 899 the Catholic Bishops of Ireland held the field to-day. They would be content with that scheme, outlined by Mr. Bryce, and with a University institution in which there would be no tests. If they asked him whether as a matter of fact the predominant element in this institution would be Catholic, his reply was that undoubtedly it would be. If they set up a University institution for a Catholic population to adjust itself to modern culture, although it was not formally a Catholic institution— what else could reasonable men expect, unless indeed they adopted the very insolence of bigotry and fell back upon the contention that was at present in the minds of the opponents to the scheme, that Catholicism was a form of superstition. That was the only contention upon which they could impeach the sincerity of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland in regard to this question. He was inclined to believe, if the House proposed to adopt that attitude, that very little that could he said from the Irish Benches would alter that condition of mind. Let them take an instance of what this meant in actual practice. They had a University institution in Ireland frequented almost exclusively by Catholics, viz., University College, Dublin. It was an institution without tests. They found that in examinations conducted by mixed Catholic and Protestant examiners and persons of no particular religious opinions, Catholic students invariably carried off the great majority of the studentships and fellowships in philosophy. They would find from a study of its courses that an institution predominantly Catholic gave its students a far wider and more liberal course of reading than would be found in the University of Ireland, or Trinity College, Dublin. What was the case which was sought to be made against the scheme of Mr. Bryce? It was said, first of all, that it would interfere with the Independence of Trinity College; but that was no part of the desire of the people of Ireland. What the majority of the people of Ireland desired was that Trinity College should be deprived, not of its independence, but of its present status of privilege in Ireland. The second objection to the scheme was that it contemplated taking its own money from 'Trinity College in order to endow this new college in Dublin. They 900 demanded nothing from Trinity College except that, it should maintain the traditions' of Irish national life. He did, not know what the mind of Mr. Bryce was on this matter, but they had some acquaintance with the false economy practised by previous British Governments in regard to Irish finance, and he would not be at all surprised if they took money from one institution to give it to another. He had noticed hitherto that when Governments carried through an Irish reform they invariably stole funds from some other Irish object to finance it. They would not, however, submit to the deprivation of Trinity College of one single penny of its income. Their mind and the mind of Ireland was clear upon that subject. On the contrary, they hoped that if Trinity College developed its scientific faculties properly its funds would be increased. It was said that Catholics in Ireland supported the scheme of Mr. Bryce because they wanted to shelter themselves from the buffets of an unfeeling world. From the point of view of antiquity the 300 years of the life of Trinity College were but a wink of the eye as compared with the life of the Irish nation and the future of the Irish race, against which Trinity College had always boon in a state of hostility. It was impossible, to his mind, to invest Trinity College with any hoary antiquity except, perhaps, in regard to the ages of the senior follows and their ideas of the functions of a modern University, and perhaps, most of all, the survival of political prejudice there. He was delighted to find how successfully Trinity College had taken in so many educational authorities. There were certain institutions, one of them not very far removed from that Chamber, in regard to which it might be said, the less they knew of them the greater the impression they made upon them. He thought the prestige of Trinity College was very much of that character. He could not help remembering that it was founded on money the result of confiscation of the estates of Catholics in Ireland, and that it was the home of every expiring prejudice. He thought exceedingly little of Trinity College. On the other hand, what was the case for the scheme of Mr. Bryce, and what was the objection to that scheme? First of all, the Irish nation 901 had a considerable claim upon Trinity College, as its income of £90,000 odd was derived from Ireland.
§ MR. KETTLE
said the right hon. Gentleman would certainly find a statement about £91,000 in the accounts; but the Commission, while it did not make any suggestion of an improper keeping of accounts, did say that the accounts ought to be better kept and submitted to an auditor. But whether the sum was £40,000 or £90,000 did not matter for the purposes of his argument, that the Irish people had a claim upon Trinity College, and the whole desire of those who supported the scheme of Mr. Bryce was to make Trinity College what it never was— a part of Ireland: to compel it to come down from the Olympian heights which it had occupied, and take a useful and profitable part in the life of the twentieth century. Mr. Bryce's scheme had received the support of Catholic laymen in Ireland, and the Bishop; also unequivocably accepted it. University College would be necessarily extinguished under the scheme, but every one of the lay professors of that college had signed a memorial in favour of it, while the senate of the Royal University had also signed a petition in its favour. It had also been adopted by the Presbyterian General Assembly. When the present Loader of the Opposition was in office he demanded as a first principle of legislation that there should be unanimity on this question. If the right hon. Gentleman meant absolute unanimity then he would say there was very little justification for continuing such a system as this. They had practical unanimity in favour of Mr. Bryce's scheme, and they had more. There was not only unanimity, but a passionate desire for this reform for which they had waited more than a generation. The Nationalist Party wished to think that the scheme was put forward not for any political purpose, but on its merits, and that the promises of the Liberal Party had a higher value than those of a political gambler. They knew that the only opposition came from Trinity College; they had had foreign petitions from England and Scotland in defence of Trinity College, and they know how those petitions were canvassed. Trinity 902 College was not by any means the popular and respected body which the people believed. The apologists for Trinity College were now in public and private urging the adoption of the Robertson scheme, which while it had every defect, had in their eyes one merit—it left Trinity College alone. It was well known that when the Commission reported in 1903 the suggested Robertson scheme fell so entirely flat that the late Government made no attempt between 1903 and 190G to act upon it. They remembered when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover, in conjunction with a more distinguished person than Lord Dunraven, attempted to dish the Nationalist Party. The scheme put forward in 1904 was not the Robertson scheme, but the scheme substantially of Mr. Bryce. Why should the voice of the nation be disregarded, and the clamour of a faction listened to? As a University it was a greater plan than any produced since. Mr. Gladstone made a complete acknowledgment of the necessity for a complete reform in University education in Ireland by introducing the Act of 1873. Speaking as a politician, he could not but rejoice that under the present system, wherever the young men of Ireland got university training of any kind, it came to them hitter with the sense of political injustice, and wherever there was an embittered intellect that intellect was devoted to the Nationalist cause. There had been Liberals who had proposed schemes for Irish Universities before, because they thought that by granting University education they would destroy Catholicity. There were others who had done so because they thought they would destroy the national spirit and disintegrate the national movement. An attempt was made by denying education to destroy all Catholicity and national feeling, and it failed; and if anybody thought that by the concession of the just rights of Ireland in this matter Irish Catholic or national feeling would be diminished they completely misunderstood the state of things in Ireland. They could not offer any great political advantage from putting this scheme of Mr. Bryce into operation, but if the Government did put it into operation they knew the difficulties the Chief Secretary would have to deal with on his own side of the House. He appealed to the Chief Secretary not to be 903 frightened from his purpose by the Falstaffian army and the stage thunder of Trinity College. He knew there was a section of Liberals who had turned their backs on Gladstonian traditions, who would make the present a Government of half-beliefs and half-measures, and there might be a section who would press for the adoption of the Robertson scheme as against that of Mr. Bryce; but it had no more chance of success than had a scheme of Devolution as a substitute for Home Rule. He asked the Chief Secretary to deal with this matter in a large and courageous spirit. The opportunity presented itself, let the right hon. Gentleman inscribe his name by the side of that of the great leader of his Party, and lop off another branch from the upas tree of Protestant ascendency. He begged to move.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed,
§ "That a sum, not exceeding £2,100, be granted for the said service."— (Mr. Kettle.)
§ Mk. GWYNN (Galway),
in seconding the Motion, said he did not approach this question from a point of view identical with that of his hon. and learned friend. Connected as he was on the one hand by family ties with the great University of Dublin, and on the other by ties with the Irish Catholics, he spoke on this question with an almost painful division of interest; but though divided between those two interests, at least he would offer to the Committee his sincere opinion in what counsels ho might give to the Government, which had made a pledge it had not yet shown any intention of fulfilling— a pledge that was positively and emphatically made. In the first place they found these Queen's Colleges of Cork, Galway, and Belfast short of equipment. They were established at a time when the requirements of University institutions were not so well understood as to day, and the lack of success of those institutions naturally enough accounted for the disinclination to spend money upon them. Dr. Windle reported that where there were sixty laboratory students there was only accommodation for thirty. It was the same story all through. But they lacked many things that were more vital than equipment, and in the first 904 place they lacked freedom. Their case seemed to him like that of the contemptuously condemned in Dante— neither for God nor against — for they could neither teach Christianity nor teach against it; they were hampered in every direction by the accursed system of compromise which English ideas had imposed upon Ireland. It extended to the ordinary affairs of life even. The men who conducted these colleges had not the rights of ordinary citizens; they had the status of civil servants. This came to his knowledge recently when he asked for the assistance of the president of one of the colleges at a public meeting held to discuss the question of primary education in Ireland. The president answered that he deeply sympathised with their aims, but he could not commit himself to take part in a meeting at which the policy of the Treasury would be challenged. That was the position to-day in those University institutions, and he put it to English Members whether that would be tolerated in any English University whatever. Would they establish for themselves a University such as they were good enough to give to Ireland? The colleges lacked freedom, but they lacked worse than that, they lacked life, they lacked students. Of course, the institution in Belfast, which the Presbyterians had been allowed to make into something of a Presbyterian College, had got, on the whole, its fair share of students; but the other colleges of Cork and Galway dragged out a miserable kind of life. In Galway where, he supposed, 95 per cent. of the population were Catholic, half the students in the college were Presbyterians who had come down from Belfast to get the scholarships for which the local people would not compete. How had the lack of students been caused? One had to go back to the original intention of these institutions, and he would refer to the words of Sir Robert Peel, spoken in that House, which expressly stated that—in their colleges in the South and West of Ireland, no man would be mad enough to think of dispensing with the aid of the Catholic hierarchy.Measures were taken which alienated the support of the Catholic hierarchy, and the Government, dispensing with it, proceeded to be the sole controlling influence in those colleges. It made the appointments itself, and 905 governed and administered the institutions on the hopeful principle of compromise; it laid down the particular things which might be done, and with the things omitted, and which ought to have been done but were not done, they wore not concerned. At the present time, at Cork, there was a kind of ray of hope, because there had been sent there a man of ability who was in sympathy with the general feeling of the population to which his college was intended to minister. It was the late Government, he thought, who appointed Dr. Windle, who had been intimately associated with the progressive University of Birmingham. Dr. Windle, being an Irishman, had willingly, he believed, sacrificed his career in England, and went back to be of service to his own country. And this was what he reported—It would be. an idle mockery for me to pretend that the college is or ever has been anything like tins success that it might have been and might be made were the conditions under which it is placed of a more satisfactory character; was the college in fact as acceptable to the people of its district as the colleges in the different English towns are to the inhabitant of the district to which they belong?Dr. Windle's solution was that they should give to those colleges the kind of constitution which was given to the local colleges in England— say to such a University as existed in Birmingham; that was to say, the control was largely in the hands of the academic body itself, and with that control local popular bodies were associated. The same thing had been demanded in regard to the other Queen's Col logos in Ireland. The college of Galway, in his own constituency, was one of the colleges entirely out of touch with the population, and the moment Mr. Bryce's scheme was announced, Galway held meetings representing the whole province of Connaught. The first mooting was presided over by the Archbishop of Tuam, and it was attended also by Presbyterian and Protestant clergy, who demanded that the institution should be kept alive and brought into touch and sympathy with the surrounding country. The college staff itself, although it consisted in the greater part of gentlemen who were not Catholics, and who were isolated by religion and opinions from the population, passed a resolution demanding that the college should be given a different constitution, and at all events taken away 906 from the Crown and given a popularly constituted body of academic representatives, who would act with representatives of county councils and representatives of the various clergy of the district. That was the Irish idea of the way in which they should settle this university question; it was to keep the Irish universities in touch with Irish life. He confessed that when ho contemplated the British Government in Ireland, its various shifts and machineries, it seemed to him like a man trying by all the resources at his command to make his mill wheel run contrary to the flow of the stream. What was wanted for the Irish colleges was a decided change in their constitution, and the substitution of popular control for that at present exercised. If that were done, he thought there was no doubt that in Cork and Galway, where at present they had empty halls and money wasted, there would be full classes and money usefully and properly spent. He fully recognised that the demand for an Irish National University was not as keen as it ought to be; but the fault of that lay with the English Government. When education was withheld the loss was double; men lost not only education but the knowledge of its worth. They had insisted on establishing university institutions in Ireland which were of such a sort; that the people could not go into them. The Irish were a parsimonious people, and it was not easy to get them to lay out money. They should have taught them that it was worth while spending money on education, as the Scotch had soon it was worth while. Who were the natural allies of the Government in such a matter? The clergy, often the only educated class in Irish country sides. Yet institutions had been so designed as to make it impossible in conscience for the Catholic clergy to urge men into them. His hon. and learned friend had dealt with the proposition that the Catholic Church of Ireland was anxious to keep people in ignorance. That slander had been repeated so often that it unfortunately had the effect that an often repeated slander always had; nevertheless, ho thought that by this time it should be fully and finally disposed of. Ho did not think he need deal with the proposition that the Catholic Church in Ireland was anxious to keep the people in ignorance; that by this time was pretty 907 fully discredited. Reform was demanded both by the people and by those who conducted the Queen's Colleges; but supposing the reform were put before them to-morrow, supposing that the colleges were alive and fertile, the problem would not be solved. Ireland was absolutely clear that its need was a metropolitan university. There was, of course, Trinity College, to which as had been pointed out he was not sent. If he might explain, the sending of him to Oxford was an experiment, and the result of that experiment was that his four brothers went unanimously to Trinity College. Nothing bad about Trinity College would be heard from him. Trinity College was in a sense a metropolitan university, but while it had been established 300 years, only for 30 years had Catholics been allowed its privileges. He wanted to be perfectly candid. He personally regretted the decision which was taken in reference to Trinity College, and had urged on Catholics, even at this late hour, to rescind their decision to go to Trinity College. He was convinced, however, that it was not a religious difficulty only which stood in the way. Trinity College was Protestant and had been built up by Protestants in Ireland to conform with the narrow and in a sense anti-Irish views of Protestants. Besides, it was only fair to remember that at the time Catholics came to their decision about Trinity College the concessions which were made a year or two ago had not been made. If a mistake had been made then there were two parties to that mistake. He thought they might take it that that solution of the difficulty could be finally dismissed. They held there must be some university education provided in Dublin for Catholics. There was Mr. Bryce's scheme which had in its favour that it was approved by the Catholics, though he thought his hon. and learned friend had overstated his case when he said it was unanimously approved in Ireland. He would be glad in many respects to see that scheme carried through, for it would give Catholics what they needed, though he did not think it would be the best solution of the difficulty. If it was still under consideration he would suggest. what was known as the two-college scheme, which was much more workable than the scheme suggested by Mr Bryce, which involved the establishment of a University with four colleges scattered over Ireland. 908 If it was to be a university such as Mr. Bryce proposed they would insist on the inclusion of Galway, making five colleges. There was also the Robertson scheme, and he had rejoiced to hear that scheme condemned. Many of his friends thought it would be wise to fall back on that scheme and to concentrate on the Royal University, but the Royal University had the worst possible name. He did not believe that scheme would be easier to carry through than Mr. Bryce's scheme. It proposed to constitute a university consisting of the three existing Queen's Colleges at Belfast, Galway, and Cork, and to found another college acceptable to Catholics in Dublin. It would be a university of four colleges, throe of them Catholic and one Presbyterian. If he know the Presbyterians of the north at all he was inclined to think that they would object to a university in which they would find themselves in a permanent minority. At the very best, supposing the Presbyterians accepted that position and did not put forward the demand that they should have half the chairs and seats on the council, in any case that university would be controlled by the kind of composite Board representing rival and conflicting interests which had been the curse of education in Ireland. He saw no advantage in that system. Politically it was difficult, academically it was unsound, and worst of all it did not, as his hon. and learned friend had said, appeal to the imagination of the Irish people, who would not thank them for the Royal University. There were only two logical and satisfactory solutions of this great question, and with one of them he had already dealt, namely, the suggestion to make Trinity College a national university; but that solution had been ruled out, because they had definitely the whole conscience and pride of Catholics arrayed against it. What was the second alternative? He would invite the attention of the Committee to this matter, because the other solution which he thought was far more statesmanlike, satisfactory and easier of accomplishment was precisely the solution which the Royal Commissions had ruled out of Court as impossible. And why? Not because anyone in Ireland would object seriously to a proposal to found, he would not say a Roman Catholic University, but a new university which Catholics would accept. He did not believe there was any objection to that 909 scheme in Ireland, but there was in England. The Prime Minister said the other day that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland was going to spend the autumn in looking through Ireland for a solution of the university question, but if he would take his advice he would look much nearer home. The solution was to be found in this country, and in that House, and the whole issue rested with the Nonconformists of England. He wanted to make it as plain as possible what was meant by this claim for a National University— he refused to call it a Roman Catholic University. What was the scheme as defined by the most representative man who had spoken on the question in Ireland up to three or four years ago, when there was an institution existing in Dublin formed especially to discuss this question? At one of the meetings of this body an address was given by his hon. friend the Member for East Mayo — whose absence, and more particularly its cause, they all deeply deplored— before Mr. Bryce's scheme was born or thought of, in which he formulated his ideas as to how the university question should be settled in Ireland. The remarkable thing about it was that the Member for Mayo's views coincided precisely with those of the Leader of the Opposition. He began by quoting from a letter in which the Leader of the Opposition had formulated his view, which was to establish by a single Act two new teaching universities, one in Dublin and one in Belfast, on precisely similar lines, and differing in no particular except in the names of the gentlemen first appointed to serve on their respective governing bodies. His hon. friend went on to define the object as the creation of an extremely democratic university that would be adapted to the needs of poor men's sons— that was to say, a university not based on the type of Oxford or Cambridge, but rather on the type of the University which existed in Birmingham. For that university he claimed the priceless gift of free academic life and self-government which would ensure that it should be the genuine expression of national ideals. So long as Ireland was a Catholic country it followed naturally that the national intellect and national ideals would be Catholic. It was not proposed that there should be any tests in that university. He did not 910 know that it was proposed to establish out of the money which would be granted by the State a chair of theology, but it was emphatically not necessary to such a scheme that the Catholics of Ireland should at least have the right to endow a chair of Catholic theology in connection with their national university. There would be no test needed so long as the university was predominantly Catholic, for the governing body would appoint none but Catholics to certain chairs. There was a great deal of talk about tests in regard to university matters, but the only test which had any influence was the spirit of the institution itself. It would be ridiculous in a university founded for Catholics to set up a chair in which the professor would give theological or philosophic teaching repugnant to the ideas of Catholics. A Catholic university was a thing which Ireland had demanded for many years— a separate national university It would have the negative advantage that it would injure no existing interest, it left Trinity College and Belfast College untouched. If the Presbyterians of Belfast claimed that their college should be enlarged and expanded, he thought the Nationalist Party would be very willing to support them in that scheme as a kind of corollary to their own claim. He thought he was entitled to say that any such scheme would not only not meet with opposition from Protestants in Ireland, but would get active help. He was in a position to say to the Committee in regard to such a proposal that it would be viewed with favour and receive support from the heads of the divinity school and of the great scientific schools in Trinity College itself. That was to say, if it was proposed to endow a separate university acceptable to Catholics such a proposal would neither be retrograde in point of religion nor in point of science. The proposal was solely opposed in England. It was a question of the conscience of the Nonconformists. Of course the Nonconformists might answer, "It is only the conscience of Catholics which prevents you from going into Trinity College to-day. Why should you ask us to concede what is a matter of conscience and grant a university which conflicts with our sense of what is right?" Consistency was a fine thing, but it was one thing to be consistent at your own expense and another to be consistent at 911 another's expense. He submitted to Nonconformists who were against enlarging the power of the Church of Rome what the net result had been of the action taken by England— or inaction— in this matter. It had enormously increased the power of the Church of Rome in Ireland. They had in Ireland an educated clergy among an uneducated laity; trained men among untrained in any question of public business; and not only that, but what the Government did not do in Ireland the Catholic Church— and all honour to it— took and did in place of the Government. The Catholic Church supplemented the deficiency left by England's unwillingness. Where there was no Government or State institution the Catholic Church provided the institution itself. The result was that men like his hon. and learned friend had no choice but to be the pupil, not of a National University but of a Jesuit College. England gave to the Church of Rome the advantage of being an educated Church in a country which was denied the means of higher education, and more than: that, they gave to the Catholic Church the absolute control of such higher education as existed. He understood there were Nonconformists willing to admit the contention that at present Trinity College was de facto Protestant, that Belfast was de facto Presbyterian, and they admitted that they deplored the fact. They said it was a regrettable thing that universities of such a type should exist, and their conclusion was that they, would be no party to establishing a third college of such a reactionary type. That was an interesting position logically; it ignored the justice of the case. To say that the Catholics should have no university because if one were granted it must be as denominational as those possessed already by Protestants, seemed to him to be pushing logic to a ridiculous extent. It was said also that the claim of the Church of Rome was peculiar in Ireland. He fully admitted that, and the reason for it was to be found in history. Probably no where in Europe was the Catholic Church so strong as it was in Ireland. And why? The answer was to be found in centuries of oppression and persecution. They could not reason with the Irish people when it came to a matter of conscience They could not separate the Irish people from their priests. When the Irish people 912 thought their priests were in the right, there was no power in the world that would drive away that idea. In this question the Irish people had definitely taken their stand behind the priests. After all, it was right that the Irish should have the kind of institutions they wanted. That was simply the Liberal claim that majorities should rule. He could not understand how any Nonconformist who approved of the foundation of such a college as Mr. Bryce proposed to set up, should disapapprove of a university on precisely the same lines. And if one disapproved of any foundation on these lines, whether college or university, surely there was a conflicting, principle involved. There was the higher principle of Liberalism and justice— that they ought to give to the people the right to choose for themselves. English Nonconformists wanted to force upon the people of Ireland a Liberalism which was not their own. The Catholic country of Belgium had decided to establish universities other than such as the Church approved of; but in this Belgium had made its own choice; it had not boon forced by a power not its own into a step it did not desire. This seemed to him the logic of the situation, but he did not wish to rely solely on logic or to base his appeal on the weight of his own opinion. Ho appealed to Nonconformists to allow this question to be settled and to give the Government a free hand; to let it be known that if they did not exactly approve of all that the Irish people wanted, they would not at least object to its being granted. This Government had come into office with a great desire to do good to Ireland; but unfortunately, they had not been successful in their attempts in some respects; he appealed to their Nonconformist supporter; to assist the Government to accomplish this achievement. He also appealed to every Member in the House to see that this great question should be settled, not on Party lines at all, but as a question between England and Ireland From his own point of view he believed that the solution of the problem which ho had advocated was a right scheme. Ho knew that there was not one ideal as to University education in Ireland, but three; and in his belief they would only get a perfect University, not by compromise, but by allowing each of the throe great religious 913 denominations to go their own way and work out their own salvation on their own lines.
§ SIR E. CARSON (Dublin University)
said it was fully fifteen years since ho first in that House advocated a settlement of the question of higher education in the interests of those who differed from him in religion in Ireland, and he really did not know how many speeches he had made on the subject from that day to this. To-day, owing to the manner in which the Resolution had been introduced in the eloquent speech of the hon. and learned Member, he felt very much tempted to give the go-by to his more pacific words on previous occasions, and enter the lists on behalf of Trinity College. That he should be prepared to do on some other occasion. He assured hon. Members he did not in the least shrink from it. This was a question, however, which had now come to that phase in Ireland in which it could only be settled by leaving out of question all bitterness on both sides, by taking a much wider and much higher view of their duties in the matter than, he thought, the hon. and learned Member for Tyrone had taken, and by trying to conciliate each other in their feelings as regarded the particular matters which necessarily arose in the settlement of the question. Since Mr. Bryce made his speech immediately before going as Ambassador to America, the question had entered upon an entirely new phase. They could not raise a question of this kind in the way in which Mr. Bryce raised it, put it forward as the settled policy of the Government, and leave the matter there. All they did by raising the question, if they did not settle it, was to leave the whole matter in a state of flux in Ireland, entirely to the detriment of higher education in that country. Taking his own University which he had the honour to represent: what had been the effect of Mr. Bryce's proposals upon Trinity College?. The whole University had been agitated all through the course of this year. Naturally, and he thought properly, in self-defence they had been applying themselves to obtain assistance in England and elsewhere for the purpose of defeating Mr. Bryce's scheme; and he knew as a fact that there had been a disturbance of the whole educational forces 914 of the University, because of the agitation which had arisen, and because of the doubts as to the future of higher education in Ireland. In addition to that the very considerable subscriptions which they were receiving towards new science schools had absolutely dried up, as nobody would contribute to an institution which was being threatened in material respects, and as to the future government of which no one was certain. In a third point the University was touched. He himself had seen a good deal of correspondence which proved to him that there were many people in Ireland who had determined, in consequence of the unsettled state of this question, to send their sons to Cambridge University instead of to Trinity College. How much greater was the unsettlement on the whole question from a national point of view in Ireland! Hopes and expectations had been raised, and people were waiting to see what was going to be done; and he took this opportunity of pressing on the Government and on the right hon. Gentleman who now held the office of Chief Secretary for Ireland that the time had really come when there ought to be no more academic discussions, but when an attempt should be made to find a practical solution. He ventured to think this was perhaps the most opportune moment, when people's minds in Ireland had been brought together upon this question, to attempt to do something towards a settlement. It was not for him to propound a plan. He was glad that that was a matter in much abler hands. He could sympathise with the right hon. Gentleman when he used what in older days he would have called his long vacation in finding a solution which would be just and generous and absolutely satisfactory to all those interested in the question. He did not himself believe that one absolutely satisfactory to everyone would be found; but he did believe the right hon. Gentleman would be able to find one which was fair and just, and would satisfy those really interested. Now, what was the question, and how did it arise? The hon. and learned Member who moved the reduction of the Vote gave a graphic description of the particularly backward condition of Trinity College and how it had failed entirely to meet the aspirations of the Irish people. The case for Trinity College was an 915 absolutely clear and plain one. So far from Trinity College being the illiberal institution which was so often depicted. he ventured to say it stood in the forefront of all Universities for the liberality it had displayed, and the efforts it had made to meet the wants of those who sought education within its walls. Trinity College was founded as a Protestant institution, as hon. Members below the gangway knew, in the eighteenth century, long before any of the English Universities ever thought of opening its doors to students of all creeds. In 1872 and 1873 all tests were abolished, and for the last thirty-four years every office in Trinity College from top to bottom had been absolutely open to every creed without distinction and without test, whether the students were Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, or Episcopalian. There was no distinction whatsoever.
§ SIR E. CARSON
No more test than for anyone else. They had, he continued, as far as Trinity College was concerned, even gone further. They had attempted to meet the situation by agreeing to set up in divinity separate denominationalism for each creed. They had done everything to try to attract students of all religions. What was there further they could do? It was said by the hon. and learned Member for East Tyrone that students refused to enter on grounds of national feeling. What was the real answer to the charge of want of national feeling in Trinity College? The Catholics of Ireland had been forbidden by the Catholic hierarchy to enter Trinity College; and was it fair now to turn round to Trinity College and say, "You are a Protestant institution, you are dominated by Protestant feeling, you are a Unionist institution and dominated by Unionist feeling " and to leave out of consideration the fact that Catholics with their Catholic feeling and Nationalists with their Nationalist feeling were not allowed by the Catholic hierarchy to go there? It was the Catholics in Ireland who were mainly the supporters of the Irish national feeling, and he had no doubt of the ideas of the majority of the Irish people. That he was right in the conclusion he drew was perfectly apparent from a paragraph in the Report of the Royal Commission that 916 had just inquired into the matter, because they came to the unanimous opinion that it was impossible to recommend any change in the constitution of the College that would render it acceptable to the Roman Catholic episcopacy, inasmuch as the Standing Committee of the Roman Catholic Bishops had stated in a document they had forwarded that the Catholics of Ireland would on no account accept any mixed scheme of education. If the Roman Catholic hierarchy were not prepared to accept a change in Trinity College under a scheme of mixed education what justice was there in attacking Trinity College in relation to the system observed there at present? The Roman Catholic hierarchy themselves had been unable to suggest any scheme simply because they did not want a scheme of mixed education. When the Queen's Colleges were founded they were founded as absolutely secularist colleges, but no sooner was that done than the Roman Catholic hierarchy refused to allow Catholics to go there because they dubbed them "godless colleges." Therefore the Roman Catholic hierarchy would not have Trinity College nor mixed education, nor what they called "godless colleges." That was the difficulty they had to face. He would rather prefer Trinity College to go on year after year with undenominationalism in higher education, but that would not solve the question in Ireland. Secularist colleges had been tried, a system of mixed education in Trinity College was refused, and were they going to say that a certain number of people should be deprived of higher education? It was unstatesmanlike, and the longer a settlement of the question was delayed the more dangerous it was. The question could not be left unsettled, because they had been creating year after year great public bodies—county councils and so forth—controlled by the Irish people, and to a large extent by a Catholic population. Education was needed for the people and the officials, and it was a dangerous thing to leave the question in abeyance while at the same time they were creating offices and obligations which required qualifications of a very different character from those which were obtainable outside university education. There was no question which pressed more for a settlement than that of higher education, but the question was. how were they 917 going to satisfy the demand? He could not see the difference between setting up a college acceptable to the vast majority of the Irish people, and setting up a university acceptable to the vast majority of the Irish people. The moment they eliminated that distinction from the controversy there was no reason for accepting the solution that had been propounded by Mr. Bryce. It was impossible to divide the interests of Dublin University and Trinity College, and bring within the scheme of Dublin University a new college acceptable to the Catholic portion of the community, and so have the effect of setting up a Catholic college in Dublin University. For years and years Trinity College had been emerging from denominationalism. From the moment they set up this college of Catholics, Trinity College would become nothing more than a Protestant College, and would be going back to absolute denominationalism. They did not want that. They wanted to be loft alone in Trinity College just as they were at the present moment, leaving their doors open to anyone who liked to come. But that was one of the smallest difficulties the Government would have to encounter if they persisted in Mr. Bryce's scheme. They would have to break up the two existing universities and the Royal University with some thousands of graduates, and they would have to break up Dublin University as it now existed, and that was no small task even for the right hon. Gentleman who now had the honour to hold the office of Chief Secretary. But when the right hon. Gentleman had broken up the Royal University and the Dublin University as they at present existed, what was he going to put in their place, and here would come the real crux of the whole situation? What was to be the governing body of the Government's new institution which would propose something satisfactory to the Royal University men, the Dublin University men, and Trinity College '? He defied anybody to get any governing body in any sense universal, which would be satisfactory to all of those people. Mr. Bryce's scheme seemed to be that there should be different governors elected by the different denominations, and then these were to be kept in order by some nominated members just in the same way that Dublin Castle was said to look after the Irish Local Government Board. He did 918 not think a nominated body for most purposes was a good institution, but he was perfectly certain it would be a fatal one for a university. The whole government of the University would under it become a matter of compromise. There was no room in the progress of higher education for compromise at all. Each body must be allowed to pursue its own ideals. The moment they got the nominated or the political element the whole ideal of what a university really was would perish, because outside interference would be inconsistent with the idea of a university. The Irish Secretary would have to consider what he was going to do with the existing thousands of graduates in the Universities. Were they to be called graduates of the late Royal University of Ireland or graduates of Dublin University, where they had never been? What was to be done with the graduates of the old Dublin University, like himself?
§ SIR E. CARSON
said it was not leaving him alone if they took away his University or made him a joint graduate with members of the Royal University. Perhaps the Chief Secretary might suggest that they should become graduates of Oxford or Cambridge. He assured the right hon. Gentleman that he much preferred remaining a graduate of his own University. Then there was another difficulty. They would have to find out what was the real difference between Trinity College, which they were going to leave alone, and Dublin University. He had studied this question very carefully, and he had not been able to decide himself how it should be settled. When they proceeded to find out what belonged to the University and what belonged to Trinity College they would have a task which would take many years to solve. Why should all this attack be made on Dublin University? If that House set up, as he thought they ought to set up, a college for the Catholics of Ireland, there was no reason why they should not be able to set up a University. But there was another alternative, which was to sot up a college in the Royal University, and make that University a teaching University instead of a merely examining University as at present. All he could say as representing Trinity College was that they took up no 919 selfish position in this matter. They said there was no reason why they should be interfered with in the work they were doing and had done. The Royal Commission had reported that no alteration in their government or their system would meet with the approval of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Ireland, and they said that, while they wished to be left in a position that would enable them to allow all students to enter their doors, they had at the same time no selfish feeling with regard to the matter. Of course, if Trinity College was going to be attacked and the Government persisted in the one solution which alone would affect them, which they believed would be inimical to their interests and prevent their progress, and create an entirely different idea of University education—while they would be prepared to assist in the creation of a University which would be a University in the best sense, acceptable to those who differed from them in religion, they would be bound to offer the most hostile opposition to any system that would interfere with the work they had endeavoured to carry out. He pressed on the Chief Secretary that in a new departure where a great principle was going to be settled it was invaluable that that departure should be made and that settlement arrived at not only with the good-will of those who were going to benefit by the settlement, but also with the unanimous good wishes of all concerned in the higher education of Ireland.
§ MR. GORDON (Londonderry, S.)
said he did not think there was much difference between those interested as to the necessity of the question of University education for Ireland being dealt with, but they differed materially on the methods which they thought ought to be applied. They desired the same end, but to attain it by different means. A good many people in Ireland believed there should be no constitution of either a denominational college or a denominational university. That was the plain and simple proposition they put forward as an article of faith in reference to education. There had never been in Ireland any system of education, either primary, secondary or university, for which money had been provided by the State, carried on on denominational lines, and they 920 strongly objected to such a principle being introduced now. It was contrary to what existed in every country in Europe. It was contrary to the settled convictions of the English people, and he did not think, therefore, that either the English people or those who represented them in that House should impose on the Irish people who objected to it a denominational system of University education. They had their own children to educate and their own views and a right to express those views in that House. This was a question which ought to be above all Party considerations, because it affected not only their present prosperity but the prosperity of the country for many years to come. The House of Commons might take it from him that what was wanted by the establishment of a Roman Catholic college was a denominational system in the University of Ireland. Trinity College, which had existed for 300 years, was, no doubt, Protestant in its origin, but it had gladly been receiving Roman Catholic students and educating them, and thirty years ago all tests were abolished. From that day to this by gradual process that had been going on, all restraints and restrictions which could prevent students from entering its walls were being removed. What was the position of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in respect to that? They would not accept any scheme of mixed education in Trinity College. It might be thought there was something peculiar about Trinity College itself, but the same position was taken up with regard to the old Queen's University, which should never have been abolished. That was a great teaching University in which the student was bound to reside and attend three-quarters or four-fifths of the lectures every session. It was founded without any test or religious bias of any kind. It was absolutely free, non-sectarian and non denominational, and every religions body had a right at its own expense to promote means of teaching its own religion to students of its own denomination. That was accepted by the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and a Roman Catholic was the first president of that University. But after a time it was discovered that the hierarchy had not sufficient control over the education given in the Queen's Colleges. It was idle to say that this question was not at its very foundation a question as 921 to a denominational University. In 1905 the matter came before the House in the same way and a vast number of the Members who then sat on the Opposition side voted, as he intended to vote on that occasion, against the proposition which was put forward in support of a denominational college or University in Ireland. He wondered what view those Members adopted to-day. He anticipated, at all events, that those who represented the Nonconformist people of England would adhere to their principles, and that they would not impose upon Ireland or give any vote which would impose upon that country a denominational system of education. Mr. Bryce, before he left the Irish Office, made what would have been a very good Second Heading speech on a Bill if it had been before the House, in which he announced all his views in reference to University education in Ireland. When he had finished his statement the right hon. Gentleman said —I personally believe it [the scheme which he had propounded] to be the only scheme politically possible under the conditions I have already stated, and I can hold our, no hope that any other will be proposed by the present Government.Were they to take that as literally accurate, and to assume that the right hon. Gentleman who now filled Mr. Bryce s place would accept the scheme, and would not himself come forward with some new scheme? Mr. Bryce went through all the various suggestions made by the two Commissions which had been appointed, and then made the statement that there were two conditions which had to be observed in reference to any scheme of University education in Ireland. The first was that the scheme should be such as to meet the wishes of Irish Catholics, remove their grievances, and be acceptable to Irish Catholic opinion. The second condition, and the important one, was that the solution must be such as a Liberal Government could propose consistently with its own principles—that was to say, free education, non-sectarian education, perfect equality between the different religious parties, no tests, and no religious restrictions of any kind whatever. If that were carried out honestly would it meet the wishes and requirements of the Roman Catholic hierarchy of Ireland?
§ MR. GORDON
Would perfect equality between the different religious parties be accepted? What did Mr. Bryce say about his college? He laid down two conditions which every man like himself would at once acquiesce in. But he then went on to say that it was to have a majority of Roman Catholic professors, and at the same time secure the assent of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. How was he to do it? By violating one of the essential conditions of his second proposal —the condition, namely, of perfect religious equality between the two religious bodies. He would start a college acceptable to Roman Catholics in Ireland by giving them a majority of its professorships, and a majority on its governing body. Was not that creating a new denominational college? It was as clear as daylight that the Roman Catholic hierarchy, which would not allow its members to go into Trinity College on any conditions, who would not accept the Queen's Colleges and Queen's University, which were upon a purely non-sectarian and undenominational basis, were not likely to accept the colleges based on the principles of Mr. Bryce's scheme. Why should they accept these colleges? Would they be willing to do it? If this were an honest statement by Mr. Bryce, what was intended to be done was to reestablish Queen's University on the exact principles on which the Queen's Colleges were founded. If that were done they would get rid of the denominational question, and there would be some reality and honesty in the suggestions put forward to create a fourth college. But would any man who knew the state of affairs in Ireland stand up and say that they should create a college in that country exactly on the same terms as those upon which the Queen's Colleges were created, and then turn round, and, in the same breath, say they knew it would be acceptable to the Roman Catholic hierarchy? He was quite satisfied that the right hon. Gentleman now occupying the position of Mr. Bryce would never make such a statement as that. They must have something very different from the conditions laid down by Mr. Bryce, if they were to satisfy the Roman Catholic hierarchy. If that were the state of affairs, he for one would be only too glad if the right hon. Gentleman could show a reasonable way out. But he wanted the matter to 923 be on no uncertain lines—let them know what it was to be, denominational or undenominational. Let them be clear and definite about it, for whether it was a denominational college or a denominational University, it came to pretty much the same thing in the end. If they started a denominational college in the Dublin University, they would have Trinity College denominational on its side. What were the arguments put forward in Ireland? It was said that Belfast College was Presbyterian. He entirely denied that. It was purely undenominational in its foundation, character, and work. It happened that there were more Presbyterians in Belfast and in the adjoining counties than there were members of other denominations, and they attended the college, which was equally open to all. The appointment of the president was in the hands of the right hon. Gentleman. He did not know what the Chief Secretary did, but so far as he was concerned he would be surprised if the right hon. Gentleman suggested for one moment that he and his Government, or any Government, would turn these colleges in Ireland into denominational colleges. If the right hon. Gentleman stated openly that they were to be treated as denominational colleges, it would be the first time it had ever been stated on the floor of the House by anyone in a responsible position.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (.Mr. BIRRELL, Bristol, N.)
Will the hon. Gentleman promise me he will not create any disturbance if the post becomes vacant and a Jesuit priest is appointed?
§ MR. GORDON
said that, as the right hon. Gentleman well knew, he had no power to create a disturbance or do anything else. The right hon. Gentleman and those who represented him in the Government had the power of applying the law in reference to the appointments to these colleges. He had never had anything to do with appointments one way or another, and knew nothing about them. If the right hon. Gentleman took the view that these were denominational colleges in their inception, he was rather disposed to think, from what he had said, that the right hon. Gentleman was inclined to favour the establishment of a 924 denominational college in Ireland. He supposed the right hon. Gentleman wanted to have an Irish Catholic University; but would that be agreeing with the principles which Mr. Bryce had laid down, that no one religious body was to be favoured more than another? He would be very curious to hear the statement of the right hon. Gentle- man, and still more curious to see what course his followers would pursue, if he did make a statement. The position of the Roman Catholic Church and of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland was well understood. So far as the latter Church was concerned, her Assembly consisted of 800 members, and apparently, in a meeting of about 400. a resolution of a very general character was passed by a majority, he believed, of four to three, though he did not know the figures; he believed that was about the majority. The resolution was general, and in no way understood as a definite and well agreed upon statement of the position of affairs in regard to University education in Ireland, nor of what the views of the General Assembly were. They certainly had always been against the establishment of a denominational college or University, and he did not think that they had ever receded from that position. He asked Members of the House who were opposed to the establishment of a denominational college to vote against the Motion which had been brought forward. The only test in connection with Queen's College was not a religious test at all. It was a declaration which a professor had to make that he would not do anything which would interfere with the religion of the students who attended his lectures.
§ MR. GORDON
read the full text of the declaration which the professors of the Queen's Colleges had to sign, in which they declared that in lecturing and examining, and the performance of their duties they would abstain from advancing any doctrines derogatory to revealed religion. Was that a test? [Cries of "Yes."] It was not what was ordinarily understood by 925 a test. It was simply a declaration on the part of the professor that he would not interfere in any way with the views or opinions of any member of his class in reference to religious or political questions. There was no suggestion that he should even state what religion he belonged to, or what beliefs he held. Queen's Colleges had been founded upon pure non-sectarianism. It had been said that the professors were like civil servants, and that if they were going to pay for these professors out of State money they would be in exactly that position. Surely if they appointed men to the new colleges they would have to put them in exactly the same position. Those, however, were not arguments which suggested that there was something in the nature of religious tests, and he could not see how that fact affected the controversy.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
said he did not propose to say a word on University education from an abstract point of view. From his point of view the debate was either a tragedy or a farce. For the first time in thirty years the Government had undertaken in the King's Speech to deal during the session with the question of Irish University education, and yet for four mortal hours a debate, mainly platitudinous, had proceeded on the merits of different kinds of University education. What he wanted to know was why faith was not being kept with Ireland by His Majesty's Ministers. He had not risen to discuss whether Trinity College was good, bad, or indifferent, or whether they should have Mr. Bryce's or Lord Robertson's scheme. What he wished to know was why had the King's plighted word to be broken? There was a pledge, solemnly made, that they would give to Ireland in the present session a University Bill. Instead of giving Ireland the promised University Bill, without any explanation, or apparently any demand for any, the Prime Minister had stated that he would implore the Irish Secretary to inform himself on the merits of the question during the course of next autumn. If that was the position, what was the meaning of the words in His Majesty's Speech and what was the meaning of a Law Officer of the Crown going down to North Tyrone and obtaining the votes of Catholics and Nationalists upon the basis 926 that the King's Speech was going to be adhered to? What was the good of twaddling about the merits of the schemes when they had a definite promise of a proposal? The words he referred to were inserted in the Speech from the Throne after Mr. Bryce had left to take up his duties in America, and after the present Chief Secretary had been inducted into his present office. When this promise had been made under the Royal signet, what were they to think of a Government with its majority of 200 or 300 breaking faith with them upon this matter, and tolling them that they intended to send the Chief Secretary upon his travels in Ireland to examine this question in the course of the long vacation—Your attention will be called to measures for further associating the people of Ireland with the management of their domestic affairs.He thought the Government had been betrayed upon that question. He said to the Chief Secretary three months ago that he thought he was more to be pitied than blamed, and his sympathies were with him still. He had opposed the Bill from the start, and if the right hon. Gentleman had consulted him he would have replied in four words "This won't do." [An HON. MEMBER: There is only three words.] Yes, there were four words. The King's Speech farther stated—Your attention will be called to measures for further associating the people of Ireland with the management of their domestic affairs, and for otherwise improving the system of government in its administrative and financial aspects. Proposals will also be submitted for effecting a reform of University education in Ireland, whereby I trust that the difficulties which have so long retarded the development of higher education in that country may be removed.Why had that promise been broken, and why were they to be put off by the statement that the Chief Secretary would be sent upon his voyage to Ireland? If the Government had said that Ireland had rejected the Council Bill and deserved nothing else, that would perhaps have been logical. But that had not been said. What the Government said was that they would give Ireland a University Bill next year. The rejection of the Irish Council Bill had lessened the Government cargo. Surely, therefore, the Government had time to deal with the University question this session. The 927 Solicitor-General for Ireland had won the most remarkable battle anyone had won in Ireland in his time. Would he have won it but for the paragraph regarding University education in the King's Speech? Would he have got Catholics—some of whom were old men, one of whom died before ho was able to vote and three of whom died next day—to consent to vote for him, even though they had to be carried on the shoulders of stalwart men, if it had been known that the pledge of King Edward was to be broken? That pledge had been broken without cause and without explanation. He could understand the explanation given for the defects in the Irish Council Bill, namely, that leading men like the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for War, and the Cinder-Secretary for the Colonies had, during the hustings period, watered down Home Rule to a particular level, and therefore they were not bound to give them any satisfactory measure. That was logical and intelligible, but did they give any promise on the question of a University Hill? It was not now a question of the ingredients of the Bill, or whether it should be a non-Trinity College Bill or one including Trinity College; it was a question of getting a Bill at all. When the Prime Minister stated that he would send the right hon. Gentleman on his travels through Ireland in the course of the recess to make up the mind of the Government on this question, did he realise the pledge he had given in his own speech? Did he realise that in January or February last the Government had apparently made up their minds to some University scheme? What was it? This was a solemn matter. The Government should not palter with the House of Commons, or with the constituencies; and they should not get their Ministers elected on false pretences. For three or four hours nothing had been talked in the debate but academic twaddle. One would have thought that the question was back in its place thirty or forty years ago. It was not a matter of forcing a closed door. The door had already been forced. The promise of an Irish University Bill had been signed, sealed, and delivered. There it was in the King's Speech. Why did not the Government deliver the goods? The Chief Secretary might say that he could not take anybody into his confidence in the matter; that he had been 928 lured to his destruction in the case of the Irish Council Bill, and therefore he could not be sure that the same fate would not await him with regard to the Irish University Bill. Of course the right hon. Gentleman might be told in private that his Bill was an admirable measure, and in public that it would not do at all. If that was the right hon. Gentleman's difficulty let him say so. But he told the right hon. Gentleman that there were forces in Ireland who, if he brought in his Bill, would stand at his back in spite of any paltering politicians. For his part he took his stand upon the promise of the King. The question at issue in the debate was not whether Trinity College should be included in the Hill or left out. It was, were His Majesty's Government going to keep their plighted word?
§ MR GOOCH (Bath)
said the hon. and learned Member for North Louth had pointed out that this matter of a University for Ireland was referred to in the King's Speech, but he would remind the hon. Member that it was impossible that all the Bills promised in the King's Speech could be introduced that session. The hon. Member asked whether the Government were going to introduce and carry a Bill dealing with Irish University education, and the important thing was whether they would do that before a dissolution. He hoped the Chief Secretary would announce in unmistakeable terms that it was his intention to do so, and if he did then all the rhetoric of the hon. Member for North Louth was beside the point. He hoped that the debate that afternoon would tend to hasten the matter, and a great deal of what the mover and seconder of the reduction said would find a ready echo among Members of the Liberal Party. The mover and seconder spoke more of the blindness of English statesmen and rather less of the considerable difficulties which Irish Catholics had put in their way. It was only fair in dealing with this difficult and complex question to remember that there were two sides to it. The speeches they had heard that afternoon, and the Reports of the Commissions, made it absolutely clear that there was a real and irresistible demand for this reform. They had been tinkering at it since 1793, when Trinity College was thrown open to 929 Roman Catholics. Two years later May-nooth was established. Perhaps it was not known to some hon. Members that it had originally a secular branch as well as a clerical branch, but unfortunately the secular had a very short existence. Then they came many years later to the "godless colleges," and it was only fair to the memory of Sir Robert Peel, who created them in 1845, to say that they owed at any rate a debt of gratitude to him for good intentions. It was a sad story, and he thought the saddest chapter in it was that of the unsuccessful, though meritorious, attempt to start the Royal University, an effort in connection with which the name of Cardinal Newman would be gratefully remembered. A charter could not be got, and money did not come in so well as it should have done. The only remains of that attempt was the Jesuit College at St. Stephen's Green. Finally, in 1879, Beaconsfield created the so-called Royal University. The Queen's Colleges and the Royal University stood as monuments of the good intentions of English statesmen rather than as a successful solution of the question of Irish university education. It was exactly forty-one years since Lord John Russell's Government first attempted to deal with this matter, and for forty years Chief Secretaries had strongly advocated the creation of either a college or a university. When it was remembered that an overwhelming majority of the Robertson Commission and the Fry Commission were Protestants, and that both reported in favour of Catholic claims, he thought that ought to predispose fair-minded men to the favourable consideration of the question. He regretted to hear the mover of the Resolution speak as he did about Trinity College, Dublin, because he prejudiced his own case. The idea of a number of Liberal Members was that Trinity College should be widened in such a way as to make it acceptable to Catholic students, and there was a considerable body of Catholic opinion in Ireland perfectly ready to take advantage of such a step. Trinity College was willing to go further than it had gone already, but in spite of that there were fundamental difficulties in the way of Irish Catholics accepting the proposals. The first was that the intellectual atmosphere of Trinity College, the scientific conception of a university, was entirely different from 930 that which ordinary Catholics in Ireland or elswhere approved. The atmosphere was very much too free for the vast majority of the leaders of Catholic opinion in Ireland. There was no doubt that many Irish Catholics regarded the atmosphere of that college as dangerously free. The second point was that Trinity College was still very largely anti-Nationalist and it could not become suitable for Nationalists. Dr. Traill, the Provost, said there were two nations in Ireland, and the sooner people in England realised that the better for everybody. That was the real reason why Catholics would not go to Trinity College. The evidence given before the recent Commission which interested him most was that which showed that Trinity College had absolutely boycotted the study of Irish history, literature and archæology. At the present time there were hundreds, if not thousands, of valuable manuscripts in the library of Trinity College which had never been examined. Some years ago a Catholic university for Ireland meant something which many Englishmen could not accept, but it now meant an institution without tests, a governing body nominated at first, but before long elected by the young men who had acquired honours at the University, and a theological faculty, if one was created, supported entirely by private contributions. The hon. Member for Galway bad quoted from a most interesting speech, which the hon. Member for Mayo, E., had made some two years ago, and which was the best statement of what Liberal Irish Catholics really meant when they put forward a demand for a national university. Stress must be laid on the word National, not on the word Catholic. Of course, a university in a Catholic country would necessarily be Catholic; but the hon. Member for East Mayo said, he did not believe that the Bishops would interfere in the management of the University once in fifty years. He was so eager for a solution of this university question that he was prepared to support the Government in carrying out either the Bryce or the Robertson scheme; but his feeling was that he would greatly prefer a solution that did not run violently counter to the wishes of Trinity College. Between the two alternatives he did not think it was the duty of any private Member to choose. The hon. Member for Galway went in for a university on 931 the Bryce scheme, but they ought not to take up sides too strongly one way or another. He hoped very much that those who had schemes of their own would fall in with a scheme which would lead to practical reform. They knew that a national university could not be founded without a grant from the Exchequer, but he hoped that private contributions from wealthy Catholics would go a long way in helping to make the institution a satisfactory one. There was an opinion amongst Nonconformists in England that the institution of a Catholic university would increase the power of the Catholic Church in Ireland. He did not think so; but even if it did, he would not allow that to stand in the way of Irishmen obtaining higher education. If Catholic Ireland became more clerical, it was her affair, not ours. The need was two-fold, viz., to add the coping stone to the fabric of Irish secondary education, and to form a rallying point for the intellectual forces which were now at work in Ireland more vigorously than could have been imagined twenty years ago.
§ MR. BUTCHER (Cambridge University)
said that in the debate reference had been made to the failure of the Queen's Colleges in Ireland. For his part he was surprised that these colleges had survived at all, looking at the chilling neglect and penurious treatment they had received from the State. The State had indeed played the part of an unnatural parent; it had neither fed its own children nor put them in a position to feed themselves. Yet he desired to call the attention of the Committee to the striking progress which had been made by the Queen's College in Belfast. Twenty years ago the teaching staff numbered twenty; to-day they were forty in number, and that without any additional endowment from the State. Twenty years ago there was only one laboratory, which had been condemned as insanitary; now there were eight laboratories, spacious and well fitted. Twenty years ago hardly any help was given to the college from local sources, but since then no less than £100,000 had been subscribed chiefly by the munificence of the citizens of Belfast. Again and again appeals had been made to the Treasury to increase the grants to the 932 Queen's Colleges. The answer had always been the same—it was one to which there was no reply—that so long as the general Irish university question remained unsettled it was impossible to do more for the Queen's Colleges. Pending a settlement the way was blocked to all improvement. What had the Government done to facilitate a solution of the larger question? The recent story was within the memory of the House; he would recapitulate the facts briefly. A Commission was appointed; early this year it issued its Report; the oral evidence had not then appeared. Mr. Bryce was on the eve of hi- departure from Ireland. In feverish haste he arranged a deputation. He put forward his scheme for the forced union of ill-assorted partners. He pledged his successor, taking care that he should not first have the opportunity of reading the evidence, or forming an independent judgment. His scheme was final; it was the Government's last word. This scheme he bequeathed to the luckless politician who succeeded him—a damnosahereditas, ruinous to his own reputation for statesmanship, and damaging to the colleague who accepted it. In substance it was the same as Mr. Gladstone's scheme of 1873 which shattered that powerful Government. It was then a fantastic experiment; in 1907 it was a proved impossibility to anyone who had followed the history of Universities during the last thirty-five years and who had studied the conditions under which alone a federal University was possible. The scheme was destructive and retrograde, It was condemned beforehand in Ireland by everyone who gave evidence with the exception of Lord Dunraven, who seemed to be the author of all recent Irish schemes. Above all it was condemned by the heads of the institutions who would have had to work it. Not Trinity College alone, but the presidents of the Queen's Colleges of Belfast and Cork and the President of the Catholic College in Dublin were at one on the question. Never had there been such unanimity alike on the part of political friends and foes in regard to any proposal, educational or political. Bur, it was argued, the plan had met with subsequent acceptance. There were two remarks to be made upon that. First, the scheme which was accepted was wholly different from Mr. Bryce's scheme. Secondly., 933 and this was the more important fact, so far as it was accepted, it was so because the Government left no choice— "Take it or leave it; this or nothing." What were they to do in Ireland? After waiting thirty, forty, or fifty years, they felt that even a bad measure was better than the present situation, which was unendurable. The opposition, however, to the scheme was not confined to Ireland. University opinion in England, Wales, and Scotland was no less decisive; the older and the younger universities all alike pronounced the same adverse verdict. That Mr. Bryce should have committed his Government to such a proposal was a deplorable piece of history, the more so, because some sort of general consensus had been reached in Ireland as to the scheme which was on the whole the best and most feasible. The Government lost a golden opportunity, and instead of taking the line of least resistance they chose the line of most resistance. One incidental result of this course was that the internal reform of Trinity College was indefinitely delayed. No effective reform could be carried without legislation and no Bill could be passed until the larger issue had been disposed of. He would like to say one other word about Trinity College. The College had been attacked that afternoon as an effete and antiquated institution. The language employed challenged controversy, but he did not wish to be controversial, and would merely quote one paragraph from the Report of the last Commission—Trinity College," they say," is capable of improvements which we shall indicate in the course of our Report;… but as it stands to-day it is a noble institution for the maintenance of sound learning, not unworthy of its great traditions and of the affections and veneration with which it is regarded by its children.That was all he had to say on that point.
In the last few years the University question had entered upon a new phase. Not long ago the solo problem in the mind of statesmen seemed to be how to establish a College or University in Dublin which should be acceptable to Catholics. That was still the central problem, but it was not now the sole problem. A new interest had been awakened in the growth of the provincial Colleges which hoped some day them- 934 selves to rank as Universities. In England no less than seven University Colleges had been founded between 1870 and 1882, and four of these Colleges had now become Universities. Ireland had been looking on, and had caught the new idea. The province of Munster had been fired with the prospect of a University springing up in response to local needs, answering to the requirements of the district and adapted to the industrial life of the people around. A University or College of this type needed a governing body which should be effectively representative of the various public bodies of the city and county. That was just what was lacking hitherto in the Queen's Colleges in Ireland. The College of Belfast was indeed fairly in harmony with the civic life of the place. During the last few years, he was told, the people of Belfast had come to feel that the College was not a Government institution planted like a barracks in their midst, but that it was their own College. In Cork this sentiment was wanting. The governor of the College was from outside. The county council of Cork, under the influence of ideas inspired by Dr. Windle, passed a resolution in favour of re-modelling the constitution of their College, and bringing it into closer touch with the majority of the people of Munster. Mr. W. O'Brien's splendid offer to bequeath the whole of the fortune of himself and his wife, £50,000, to Queen's College, Cork, if the constitution could be modified in the way suggested, illustrated the spirit to which he referred. The movement above described was, moreover, a layman's movement, and a democratic movement; it did not originate with the Bishops or the wealthier Roman Catholics of the country. It came from the people. But the passionate interest now aroused in University education in the South of Ireland could not be satisfied by the establishment of a Metropolitan University in Dublin. Local needs and local patriotism must be duly recognised. Meanwhile, here again the way was blocked; for no reconstitution of Queen's College, Cork, or any other college, could come about so long as the larger University question was unsolved.
Passing to that larger question he abandoned, though with intense regret, the hope that Trinity College could by any adaptations be made acceptable to 935 Catholics. There remained, therefore, only two solutions of that question. Candidly his own strong preference was for the creation of a Catholic University without any tests either for teachers or students, with a preponderance of laymen on the governing body, and without any ex officio representation of ecclesiastics. If ecclesiastics were to come in, they could be put in by the laymen, but he would leave the constitution entirely free, so that it might by degrees take the colour of the laymen, who would form the majority of the graduates. The reason why he believed in such a university as the desirable solution was that, if the Roman Catholics were given a university of their own, they would be put upon their mettle, they would feel that it lay with themselves to make or mar it. They would be on their trial in the eyes of the world, and it would be a point of honour with them to do their best. The other solution was, of course, that of the Robertson Commission—a newly - constructed Royal University, a teaching university, comprising four constituent residential colleges—the three Queen's Colleges and a new Catholic College in Dublin, generously and handsomely equipped. This, he believed to be. the line of least resistance, and it was mainly on that ground that he had twice affixed his signature to a Report proposing that solution.
Such a federal university would doubtless by a natural process of development evolve itself into separate universities when the colleges became strong enough to stand alone. He would now put it to the House in all seriousness that the matter was not only one of sentiment. It was also a matter of urgency. Year after year had gone by. The equity of the Catholic demand had been acknowledged by statesmen on both sides of the House. Since 1886 five Chief Secretaries, representing various political opinions, had recognised the claim. In the Home Rule debates of 1893 the principle was accepted and passed without a division. Meanwhile Commissions had been appointed. Nothing had been done. Could they wonder that hope deferred brought with it exhausted patience? Each year's delay intensified the grievance. People were sick at heart with waiting. They were inclined to clutch at any offer, even at 936 Mr. Bryce's scheme, profoundly as they disliked it. Anything, they felt, was better than things as they were. The time had surely come when action was possible. In Ireland an agreement on this question had now been more nearly arrived at than ever before. He hailed with pleasure the Chief Secretary's recent announcement that he had hopes next session of finding a settlement which would meet with general assent. As a Protestant he maintained that the State should respect the rights of conscience of Roman Catholics in the matter of university education as it did in all else. As a Unionist he desired to remove the one reproach which, in his judgment, still clung to them as Unionists. He had always held—he still held—that in that House every legitimate grievance of Ireland could be redressed; that all creeds and classes could find justice and shelter under the Imperial Parliament. As an Irishman he looked out upon the waste of mental life in Ireland, and thought of the pity of it; the rich intellectual endowments of the race starved for lack of sustenance, intellect undisciplined and often misguided, powers of intellect which when trained and touched with emotion, as the Irish intellect could be, were capable of any achievement. The love of learning, shown even under the penal laws in the hedge schools of Connaught—all this was now running to waste, perhaps ebbing away. Not so long ago Lecky mentioned in that House how in his youth it was no uncommon thing to come across a peasant in rags who could repeat a book of Homer and was familiar with the whole of Virgil. Now there were few people probably who could repeat anything except perhaps the pages of the Freeman's Journal— good stuff, no doubt. in its way, but a different order of literature. Moreover, the sociable Irish spirit, the spirit of comradeship and good fellowship, could find no university outlet, or next to none, for young Catholics. College memories meant for most of them the recollection of the examinations they had passed or of those in which they had failed. At this moment, indeed, there would seem to be a quickening of intellectual life in Ireland, a mental a wakening. There were signs that the younger generation would not always be content to be fed 937 upon the husks of politics or on examination questions. What was to be the outcome of this stir and ferment? Who could say? But in any case these intellectual gifts and energies, dormant but never dead, should be strengthened, disciplined, and worked for the good of the country. The wealth of England lay in her mines and material resources. The wealth of Ireland for the most part lay hidden, still hidden, in the brains of her children. Let her have the means to make use of that latent treasure. They demanded university education for Catholics not as a luxury for the rich—the rich could, and did, send their sons to England—but as the necessity of the poor; it would give the longed-for opportunity of bringing even to the cottage door the best learning that the land could offer.
§ MR. MASSIE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
said it was a somewhat distasteful position, and, as he gathered from the speeches that he had had the pleasure of listening to that afternoon, an unpopular position in the eyes of the portion of the House that he had now the honour of addressing, that he should appear unfriendly or even be critical towards proposals that were made for the higher education of the Irish people—proposals made in their name. He would be grieved indeed, and he would resent it, if he were put down as indifferent or apathetic in this matter. He earnestly longed to sue a truly democratic university in Ireland; but he was not prepared to rule out those solutions that had been ruled out without ceremony that afternoon, and least of all was he prepared to rule out the possible solution of the expansion and nationalisation of Trinity College; though he was perfectly aware that to leave Trinity College alone would be welcome to the hearts of the friends of that college who were then present. He knew that Trinity College had hitherto been boycotted by the Roman Catholic hierarchy; and that led him to say that, in the debate in which they were taking part that day, and in the debate that occurred early in last session, certain questions very much to the point were either inadequately answered or not answered at all. For instance, why had the Holy 938 See felt at liberty to permit Catholics to reside at Oxford and Cambridge and in the Universities of America, while it had refused the same permission in connection with Trinity College, Dublin? Again, why should the bishops in Ireland condemn a mixed education which would bring Catholics and Protestants to meet and mingle together, when their fellow bishops in the United States of America and in other parts of the world did not condemn such an association? Why, again, should the bishops demand a Catholic atmosphere for secular instruction, even, for instance, of education in agriculture, when practically elsewhere this atmosphere was not provided by the State, even in Roman Catholic States? Were they to regard this separatism as an Irish idea, when they knew that the Irish Catholic was the most genial and the most companionable of all Catholics in the world? Was it that his geniality was a special peril? Again, what were Irish ideas? Were they to take Irish ideas to be the ideas of Cardinal Cullen—because they could not brush him aside; he was the founder of the present dominant régime in Ireland— were they, then, the ideas of Cardinal Cullen, or the ideas of Bishop O'Dwyer, while the Ultramontane section was the ruling power in ecclesiastical matters in Ireland? Or were they to take as Irish ideas the ideas of the Roman Catholics in Grattan's Parliament, or of Young Ireland with Davis and Duffy at their head, or of the late Michael Davitt, or of half the bishops of Ireland at the synod of Thurles before the wave of Ultramontanism came in? And they most remember that the synod of Thurles was held after years of oppression. And why should he regard the Ultramontane domination in Ireland as permanent? And why should he believe that even now these were the ideas of the mass of the people of Ireland, when Dr. Delany, in his evidence in 1906, on being asked whether his judgment was also the judgment of the people of Ireland, said that the Irish people had not had an opportunity of being consulted? Again, in the absence of evidence that the faith and morals of Roman Catholic students had been undermined in the un-sectarian colleges of Ireland, why should not the Irish priesthood have proved as 939 brave, with the special hold they had upon their people, as the Nonconformists at Oxford and Cambridge—the Nonconformists who did not ask for a University for themselves, but, knowing the inevitable risks that awaited them, faced those risks at Oxford and Cambridge, and by their presence and scholarly distinction had succeeded in changing the atmosphere and almost revolutionising the governing bodies in those Universities? Why, lastly, should the Irish priesthood charge the English Government with having deprived the Irish people of University education when that deprivation had been the act of the Irish priesthood itself? He had not seen convincing answers to any of these questions, and since the debate of last year things that had happened made the answers more urgently required. The Commission of 1906 had evidence laid before them that a considerable body of the Irish laity would gladly send their sons to Trinity College if they could do so with the approbation of their Church; and they might fairly assume that more of that evidence would have been given if more Irishmen had felt free to speak. And they might also fairly assume that more sons of Ireland would have been sent to Trinity College if the overtures of Trinity College, made in 1903, had been accepted by the Irish priesthood, namely, the provision of Catholic teachers for Catholic students on the same terms as for episcopal students or Presbyterians, the provision of a Catholic chapel within the precincts of Trinity College, Dublin, and the provision of a Roman Catholic divinity school. What had Cardinal Logue replied to these overtures? He had replied that he would not be a party to any such arrangement. And so they had still this ecclesiastical objection to that mixed education which would bring Catholic and Protestant to meet and mingle together. Objection had been taken, as he had said before, to mixed education even in agriculture. Education, in a word, must be under the ægis of the Catholic Church, so that the faith and morals of Catholics should not be injured—that was to say, under the control of the Roman Catholic bishops. Bishop O'Dwyer, or it might have been 940 the Bishop of Clonfert, said, in his evidence in connection with the appointment of professors, that he believed that any average body of Irish laymen would defer to the bishops in such matters; so in the last resort they had not academic control, but episcopal control. And this brought him to the point on which he wished to lay stress. Such an arrangement as he had depicted, not an academic but an episcopal control, was practically unparalleled in the civilised world in connection with State Universities. The modern spirit was a scientific spirit, and this scientific spirit pervaded universities as they were now generally conceived and conducted. From that position they did not recede, and he thought they never should recede. Investigation must be free. Teachers and students must not be tied and bound by chains which hampered the discovery of truth. The hon. and learned Member who moved the Resolution had spoken of the great scientist Pasteur. Let him remind the House that Pasteur's scientific work, unhampered as it was. was done in France, where bishops had no control over State universities. Discovery of truth was the passion of modern times. He might call it a holy passion, because most Christian men now admitted that no scientific truth could really be hostile to religion. Catholicism, he would not say that, but Ultramontanism and Vaticanism demanded that their religion, as they now conceived it, should regulate, and therefore interfere with, the pursuit of scientific truth. Bishop O'Dwyer said that there was no security in the unsectarian colleges of Ireland that secular science should be taught without infringement of Catholic doctrine. Dr. Delany. the head of the Jesuit College in Dublin, had stated that an objectionable professor would not be prevented from appointment merely on account of his opposition to Christian views, but because the science that he taught was not science at all. Dr. Delany further gave it as his opinion that Haeckel, the German Professor of Biology, was absolutely and totally unscientific. So that with episcopal control it might fall to the lot of a bishop who knew nothing about science to decide what the value of scientific teaching was, and he would be 941 able to secure a professor who would take his side upon the subject. Investigators under such a system would live and move and have their being not in dry light but in a coloured medium. Their teachings and their books would be under episcopal censorship. Upon denominational grounds, as Dr. Delany said, they would be appointed, and of course they might on denominational grounds have to resign because, as Dr. Delany put it, "denominationalism was the essence of the claim." A scientific professor might indeed be allowed to work with his microscope, but he must not allow his imagination to go free. He must put a knife to the throat of his theory, even if his theory was simply an experiment in the direction of truth. Just as Galileo suffered for his theory as to the motion of the earth, so Darwin might have suffered for his theory of evolution; Gardiner might have suffered for his history of the Stuarts; and Herbert Spencer might have suffered for his "Data of Ethics." It was too late in the history of the world to allow such results from episcopal control. Trinity College, Dublin, had its faults, just as Oxford and Cambridge had, where Catholics were allowed to reside. But he believed that Trinity College breathed the air of freedom of investigation. Were they to go back, to surrender to reaction, and assign a public endowment to a system under which natural, moral, and historical science might be in obscurantist bondage? That was not a real university in the proper sense of the term, and no State endowed such a university. In the sacred name of education, some of them, at any rate, declined to found such a university with public money. Whoever desired to found such a misnamed university let them found it themselves at their own expense. Just as he was opposed to two hostile universities, so likewise was he opposed to two colleges which would be in conflict one with the other. For a time he was taken with Mr. Bryce's scheme because he thought that the two colleges working together in Dublin would tend to union and would have the effect of bringing together the two classes of men, Protestants and Catholics, and he thought fondly that the more progressive college would exert an influence 942 for good upon the other. He could not help feeling now that by having two opposing colleges they would only be crystallising the differences now existing, and that they would be making two camps between which the best condition of things would be an armed neutrality. If they had professors in common there would be a conflict between Catholic and Protestant in the choice of those professors. As to enlightenment the pace would be regulated by the slower of the two colleges. Trinity College was not what it ought to be, but he thought it had in it the making of a national University. Its governing body should be far more open than it was. It should be open to a continual flow of flesh blood, and he thought that flow might come if some of the recommendations of the late Royal Commission could be carried into effect. It was useless to find fault with some parts of the curriculum of Trinity College; because in nationalising that college the curriculum could easily be altered and improved. Trinity College already sheltered beneath its roof a great variety of students, and it was the fault of Catholics themselves that that variety was not much more distinctly marked. He thought that Trinity College had much to its credit in having liberalised itself step by step, from time to time, and the overtures made in the year 1903 to which he had referred had tended towards greater liberalism. Trinity College as a university had its face set in the right direction. True, it was stamped too clearly with the mark of Protestantism by having an episcopal divinity school within its walls, and from that stamp it should be freed. But educationally it was a free institution, and its government was largely academical, though that government might be made more academical still. At any rate, it was not in any sense the appanage of any episcopal body. It might be made a great national University, not only communicating its education to but shedding its prestige, which could not be denied, on men of all faiths, and binding them together in citizen brotherhood. He thought it was an infinite pity, as was pointed out by the Lord Chief Baron, that the feeling between Protestants and Catholics was not as 943 cordial now as it was fifty years ago. That result he attributed in part to the Episcopal condemnation of that mixed education which would have brought Catholic and Protestant to mingle together. They were told that the objection to Trinity College was political and religious. Nonconformists might also say that their objection to Church of England institutions was both political and religious, but by going to Oxford and Cambridge in large numbers, ready to lose men by the way, they softened the bitterness, and they smoothed down the political and religious differences. If they wanted such difference, smoothed down in Ireland then they ought not to set up an opposition university or college. The Episcopacy of Ireland had clung to their plan because Government after Government had given them hope, sometimes more, sometimes less, that if they persevered they would in the end get their way. Let their Governments give up shilly-shallying on the subject. Let the Irish people look first to the interests of their children, and let them begin to be a force behind the episcopal throne. Let the Irish Bishops follow the example of Pius IX. in England and America and withdraw their prohibition of mixed education. That prohibition was not founded on evidence, but on an exaggeration of danger. It was not based on fact, but on fear or else on policy. To policy—a policy not carried out even by Roman Catholic States—the Episcopacy had sacrificed for more than fifty years the education and prospects of Ireland's sons. Let them turn over a new leaf, nay, let them go back to the old leaf and sacrifice their policy to their people, and then the future of higher education in Ireland would lie with Catholic and Protestant, one with another, not separated in youth, united in manhood, one in heart and soul for the best interest of their country.
§ SIR PHILIP MAGNUS (London University)
said that for many years he had taken a deep interest in Irish education and particularly in university education. For that reason he thought he might be permitted to say a few words upon the important question under 944 discussion. He very much regretted that a question of an educational character which was difficult enough in itself should be made still more difficult by the intrusion into it of political and religious considerations. He was sorry to find that the hon. Member for East Tyrone devoted so large a portion of his interesting speech to questions of a political character. The example was set by Mr. Bryce himself in his celebrated speech in January last when he stated that, "besides the several educational considerations, they were obliged to consider the political aspect" in endeavouring to solve this difficult problem. What were the actual facts to be faced in Ireland at the present time? It was not easy to exclude altogether the religious question from the matter which was now under consideration, but it was desirable to discuss it from an academic standpoint without any political bias. The way in which this discussion had been carried on had shown conclusively that there was a strong desire on both sides—he thought he might say in all quarters of the House— that the question should be settled speedily, and in conformity as far as possible with the wishes of the Irish people. There was also a general opinion that, whatever the faults of Trinity College might be, it was not desirable that any settlement of the question of providing university education for Catholics should interfere with or destroy the present condition of that college. It should be remembered that Trinity College represented the views of a large minority of the Irish people, and for that reason it was desirable that it should continue to carry on its ancient traditions and fulfil the; purposes for which it was originally established. Notwithstanding the violent attack made by the mover of the Amendment on Trinity College, he felt certain that the Irish people did not desire to interfere with the excellent work which it had been carrying on for over 300 years. The question had been asked: What should be the character of the university for Ireland? A distinction had been rightly drawn between a Catholic university and a university for Catholics. That distinction was of importance. To arrive at 945 a satisfactory solution of the problem it was necessary to put themselves in the position of the Roman Catholics of Ireland who formed the great majority of the people of that country, and to ask themselves what it was that would satisfy them. There was, unfortunately, bigotry and intolerance among freethinkers as well as among believers, among' Nonconformists as well as among Churchmen. He did not believe that if a University were given to Catholics of the kind which they themselves desired, there would be in the ordinary sense of the word any tests for professors or for students. He believed that they would be ready to admit within their walls students of all denominations, and whilst they would rightly take care that the professors did not teach doctrines which they considered subversive of the highest considerations of their faith and religion, they would give the utmost possible freedom to their teachers in regard to other subjects. While holding the same views as the previous speaker about the necessity of freedom in science teaching, he recognised that there were those who regarded all science as relative, subjective, and possibly transitory. The hon. Member had suggested that a solution of the difficulty might be found in enlarging the sphere of Trinity College so that it might serve as a University for Catholics equally with Protestants, but they could not escape from the fact that the Commissioners appointed to consider this subject were unanimously of opinion, without any reservations, that such a solution was quite out of the question, and that it was impossible to recommend any such changes in the constitution of the college as would render it acceptable to Roman Catholics. It was not for them to say whether Roman Catholics were right or wrong. They had to recognise the fact that in Roman Catholic education, from the primary school to the University, there must be what was under- stood as the "religious atmosphere." It should be remembered also that in this House they were endeavouring to legislate for a portion of the United Kingdom where Roman Catholics were in a great majority. Therefore, it was essential that, they should consider the views of Roman Catholics. He believed that 946 on both sides of the House there was a genuine desire in this matter to meet in the best possible way the views of the great majority of the people of Ireland. How was that to be done? A scheme was suggested by Mr. Bryce on the eve of his departure for the United States. He regretted that Mr. Bryce had put forward his scheme, and he hoped that the Chief Secretary would not be induced to commit himself prematurely to any one of the numerous schemes that had been brought forward, though there should be no great difficulty in arriving at a satisfactory solution. But Mr. Bryce's scheme would have done great injury to Trinity College, and it was not in accordance with the most modern views of University education. The union of colleges in a federal University had never been a permanent success. The colleges when sufficiently advanced had always developed into Universities. And for that reason a large number of persons were strongly opposed to Mr. Bryce's solution of the difficulty. The hon. Member who moved the Resolution quoted Dr. Windle as being favourably disposed to Mr. Bryce's scheme. What Dr. Windle said was that—In Ireland a common University would bring together a group of colleges differing in age, in wealth, in religion, and in ideals."And he went on to ask—What would be the result?"And he said—In ,my opinion such a scheme would convert the national University into a cockpit—a cockpit, too, into which all the ' birds' would go spoiling for a fight.Of all the schemes which he had seen, the one which he believed would bring most satisfaction to the Roman Catholic? and at the same time prove to be the best in the interests of education was that there should be a separate University for Roman Catholics. He saw no objection to such a University being established in Dublin. It had been said that it would be unusual to have two Universities in Dublin; but there were a great many things in Ireland which were unusual. He urged, therefore, that something should be done as speedily as possible to give Ireland the higher education that was absolutely essential, and that an attempt should be made to find a 947 solution of the difficult problem and to carry out the wishes of the Roman Catholics of Ireland.
§ MR. C. B. HARMSWORTH (Worcestershire, Droitwich)
said that as one of the few hon. Members on that side of the House who was a graduate of Trinity College he could not allow the opportunity to pass without saying something in defence of the institution to which he owed a great deal. He admitted freely that the Roman Catholics of Ireland had a great grievance, and that this grievance stood in urgent need of a remedy. On the other hand, he did not think that it could be fairly alleged that Trinity College had failed in its duty to endeavour to find some remedy for the admitted grievance. It could not be said that Trinity College grudged, or that it had ever grudged in the past 100 years, the aid of her prestige and her privileges to the Roman Catholics of Ireland. Every post of emolument and learning had been open since 1873 to Roman Catholic students as to the students of other faiths. She continued cordially to invite Roman Catholics to enter the college, and it had always been a mystery to him why that invitation had not been as cordially accepted. It had always seemed to him that if Roman Catholics were to frequent the College in sufficiently large numbers they might in a very short time obtain a large share of control, and they might even create their own atmosphere therein. Speaking as a Protestant, he did not feel that he was in the slightest degree entitled to dogmatise as to what Roman Catholics wanted. All he could say was that he was prepared to admit they had a grievance, that they knew their own business best, and that it was the business of Parliament to remedy the grievance as speedily as possible in a liberal spirit. It was said that Trinity College had been neglectful of Gaelic studies and of archaeological inquiries. No doubt the charge went home, but in mitigation it should not be forgotten that Gaelic studies had been almost universally neglected in Ireland until a short time ago. The University of Dublin had not always been anti-national. There was at least one period—a brief period he admitted—when the highest aspirations of the Irish people were 948 faithfully reflected within its walls— when Grattan's Parliament was over against Trinity College. It was not the habit of Universities to be in advance of their time. The best solution of the problem at any rate would be that the episcopal ban should be removed and that Roman Catholics should be allowed to enter Trinity College; but that being impossible, the second best solution, in his opinion, would be the establishment of a distinct Catholic college under the Royal University of Ireland. The Bryce scheme was, in his opinion, the worst solution, because it involved tying up together a number of colleges mutually hostile in a sort of cat and dog life, the only vital connection between them being a mixed board in which, not educational, but denominational, views would predominate. He had heard with great regret the almost universal disparagement of the Royal University of Ireland, even by members of it. [An HON. MEMBER: There was reason for it.] The Queen's Colleges, having regard to their defective constitution, had as well as the Royal University of Ireland done extremely good work. The vital defect of the Royal University was that it had not a residential college. His right hon. friend had been given a great deal of advice, but might he ask him very respectfully to pause not once or twice, but fifty times, before he imperilled the future of what had been described, as the only successful English institution in Ireland? They had in Trinity College a most successful foundation, and he thought it would be extremely unwise to imperil its career by linking it up with colleges some of which had been successful and some not. There was one suggestion of Mr. Bryce—that the graduates of the Royal University should be drafted into the Dublin University—which surprised him. Whatever Parliament might do, it could not confer a degree, and it would be little short of an outrage to take the graduates of any University and draft them into Dublin and give them all the privileges which attached to a Master's degree of that University. There was another objection to be made to Mr. Bryce's scheme which equally applied to the scheme of the Robertson Commission. He thought the Nonconformists of England and Scotland who took an 949 unusual interest in this matter, would object just as strongly to Mr. Bryce's so-called undenominational college, as they would to the establishment of a distinctly Roman Catholic college in Dublin, because it was the essence of Mr. Bryce's college that it should be Roman Catholic in atmosphere and spirit and in fact.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
said the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down was not only a graduate of Trinity College, but a very distinguished one. He took exception to his statement, however, that it was a very successful institution. It was not a successful institution. In Ireland at present there was no University whatever that gave to a young man of necessity a University training. A man might come to Trinity College and become a graduate without having once been in a lecture-room or being placed in a true University environment. Out of the 800 or 900 students in Trinity College, at least 400 were non-residents and only came up and passed examinations. Only 450 men attended lectures and had a real University environment, yet what an expenditure was incurred for the purpose! Sixty or seventy thousand a year was spent on giving 400 or 450 resident students a University education. A University which could only achieve such a result was not a success. What he wanted as a Protestant was to give his Catholic fellow-countrymen a fair chance of equipment in life which they had not under the present university system. His hon. and distinguished friend the Member for Cambridge University said he had a grudge against Trinity College. He had no such thing. His father was a graduate of Trinity College, and his grandfather was also a graduate, but he said, as an Irish Protestant, that the existence of Trinity College, every acre of whose land had been confiscated from the Catholic Church, was a standing outrage so long as University education given in a way acceptable to them was denied to the Catholics of Ireland. He attended on St. Julian's Day—St. Julian was a saint not known in England—on the 24th of September, 1904, the laying of a foundation stone in Letterkenny by the Bishop 950 of Raphoe, who made a speech by which he was much struck. The Bishop said it was a very monstrous thing that no less a sum than £9,000 per annum had been for three centuries taken from the impoverished province of Donegal as rent from land and had gone to Trinity Collegee. No good would be obtained and no proper work done unless once for all the war was taken into the enemy's country and Trinity College itself was attacked. There were two gentlemen who in that debate had been conspicuous by their absence. One was the late Prime Minister who in a speech at Partick said he did not know how to defend the Union in regard to the question of education. Where was the right hon. Gentleman now? He was as discreetly absent as he was when the question of tariff reform came up. Where again was the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover, who was the great exponent of the late Government's policy in regard to education in Ireland? Where was the right hon. Gentleman who said he would stake his head on the settlement of the Irish university question? The right hon. Gentleman had a chance of settling this question, but he betrayed the Irish people by not doing so. Speaking strictly as a Protestant, he said that Trinity College was meant to be an anti-national foundation. That was shown by Professor Mahaffy's History of Trinity College. Anyone who looked at that book would see there very fine instructions as to how the Roman Catholics could be Protestantised and how they could catch a young O'Connell or two. The young O'Connell they did catch did not follow out what was so preached because he was the strongest exponent of the national feeling of his day. Trinity College was unsatisfactory even to Protestants, and he said that with some knowledge of the subject. Every Protestant parent in Ireland who had the choice would rather send his boy to Oxford or Cambridge than to Trinity College. The reason was that the revenues of Trinity College were scandalously misappropriated, one pound in every three being divided among eight old men who did nothing but take the money and give laws to the institution. Trinity College might better be described as an old men's asylum than as a seat of learning. Every man connected with 951 Trinity College who had the means had sent his son to an English university, because he knew that the institution was mismanaged, a job and a failure. Nearly every man connected with the history of Ireland had had some dispute with Trinity College. When Grattan, in 1798, was dismissed from the council his portrait was taken down and put in the kitchen. When John Ingram got his position O'Connell said the bird which sang so sweetly was caged in Trinity College and would sing no more, and he was right. But he would give all praise to one man who was connected with that institution, the man who was the author of the words "Home Rule." He was a fellow of Trinity College, called Joseph Younger. He was too great a man to be utterly tabooed, but he was killed and slaughtered there. He regretted that the late Solicitor-General had gone, but in his absence he would speak well of him. During the whole of the speech of the senior Member for Trinity College he was overflowing with love towards the Catholics—they should have everything they desired provided the principles of Trinity College were not interfered with. The right hon. Gentleman did not, however, tell them that Dublin University returned two Members to Parliament, and the real reason for the opposition to the proposal that a new college should be added was that the constituency might be swamped. From the Union to the present time not a single Fellow of Trinity College had been a Member for the University. Statesman after statesman on both sides had smothered them with promises of Catholic universities, yet year after year and generation after generation had gone by and nothing had been done. Were the English Government afraid to face an intellectually equipped people? What was the computation of a university generation? An ordinary generation was computed at thirty years, a colle e generation at three years, and since the first promise had been made thirty generations had passed away, and nothing had been done for the Catholic people. It might not be generally known that as far back as 1798 a scheme was provided for a Catholic University. It would have been brought to fruition in 1803 if the Union had not been brought about, and during all this time the people had been deprived of proper mental training. It 952 was an outrage, but the outrage was aggravated when it was the fact that the old Protestant College had not a single acre of land that was not filched from the Catholic Church. Ireland was a centre of learning and history, and long before Oxford and Cambridge were founded 1,300 students came to the old Irish University. It might be that Trinity College could be saved by a Bill being brought in which the people might be pleased to accept, but he hoped no compromise would be made by the Irish people. But for God's sake let not men be destroyed as they had been—men who had great intellects and only wanted the chance of an education. Was the Irish University question shelved now, and if so, why? Why should not the time given to the MacDonnell-Dunraven Council Bill have been given to the question of University education? Why was Ireland to be defrauded of her educational rights? He appealed to the Chief Secretary to settle the question.
§ MR. BARRIE (Londonderry, N.)
said there had been frequent references to the remarkable farewell speech which Mr. Bryce had delivered, and which he had always considered was meant to be an opportunity for a little kite-flying on behalf of the Government. The speech had led to rather various forms of interest among those who approached the subject from different standpoints. He intervened in the debate with a certain amount of regret, because he found that in regard to the General Assembly of the Church to which he belonged there seemed to be in certain quarters, which he did not desire to minimise, a view that it favoured the proposal put forward by Mr. Bryce. He thought he would have preferred that the resolutions adopted at the last meeting of the General Assembly had been deferred until they had before them the actual text of the Bill which the Government had promised. This above all other problems was one in which the ultimate view would be very largely decided by the details of the measure by which the discussion would be followed. His colleague the hon. Member for South Londonderry had made a contribution to the debate with which he was in full accord. He thought it only right that the House should be reminded that the resolutions to which he was referring were supported 953 by less than one-third of the members of the Assembly, and that a counter-resolution with which he was also in full accord, received the support of only some seventy or eighty votes fewer than those given for the resolution which was carried. He desired to emphasise the fact that almost one - half of the members of the Assembly took the wisest course open to them in the circumstances. They evidently believed that the time was not opportune for passing judgment on a speech which was meant as a preliminary to important legislation later on. He did not think any of the interesting contributions to the debate to which they had listened were more remarkable than the caustic speech by the hon. Member for North Louth. He believed the case the hon. and learned Member made was unanswerable, because they knew that it had been alleged by speaker after speaker that afternoon that there was a general consensus of opinion in Ireland in favour of the scheme outlined by Mr. Bryce. That was more than even the present Chief Secretary would claim for the late and not greatly-lamented measure which had not yet been decently buried, but which was thoroughly and effectively dead. He suggested that the House had a right to ask from the Chief Secretary a clear and concise statement why that measure, in spite of the promise in the King's Speech, had not been brought before the House, while the other Bill—he referred to the Home Rule Bill—on which there was a marked division of opinion was brought forward and met with the unkind reception which he hoped all similar measures would meet with. They had heard another remarkable speech from the hon. Member sitting on the benches opposite, and he could not help thinking, where the hon. Member talked of the apathy in Ireland in regard to higher education, that it was the Roman Catholics who boycotted Trinity College and not Trinity College who boycotted them. Whatever the merits or demerits of that institution, it had always of recent years opened its doors wide to all students who desired to take advantage of the great educational facilities it offered. A number of Presbyterians had taken advantage 954 of those opportunities, and had been justified in doing so by capturing many of the rewards it offered. The same opportunities were open to Roman Catholics. A few years ago there was in Dublin marked movement a among young Roman Catholics, in spite of the opinion of the hierarchy, to enter Trinity College and take their part in the fight for academic honours, but the hierarchy refused to allow them to join. Yet they had it said there that night that upon those who refused to grant the demands of the Roman Catholic Church lay the responsibility for the poverty of education which the youth of the Roman Catholic Church were at present able to receive in Ireland. That was the charge made against them, and which they had to answer. He ventured to say that if there was a vestige of intolerance in regard to education in Ireland, it was upon the part of the hierarchy of the Romish Church in that country. There were ample opportunities in Ireland for the youth of the land to receive an education not seriously inferior to any that could be obtained at either Oxford or Cambridge. They had been told that the Roman Catholic hierarchy did not venture to challenge Roman Catholics who attended those seats of learning. Why, then, should they be challenged when they were desirous of attending a college in Dublin, open to all the youth of the land? He had heard no answer to that argument. The only argument they had heard was a continued attack upon Trinity College, Dublin. He was glad that the attack had not been extended to other colleges in Ireland, which were all taking in their own way an honourable part in educating their students. They had been told that the scheme outlined by Mr. Bryce was not denominational. Let them hear public opinion on that matter. Very shortly after Mr. Bryce made his speech the Westminster Gazette said—The Government scheme is absolutely undenominational.… It is very important to bear in mind that the Roman Catholic Bishops in their letter to the recent Royal Commission accepted a second College in the University of Dublin free from any sort of test as satisfactory.That was one point of view. Then they had an important utterance by a well-known Roman Catholic, Mr. George 955 Mansfield, J.P. and D. L., who wrote as follows to the public Press—The fact is the whole fuss about the necessity of complete undenominationalism in the new University is simply made to satisfy English Nonconformists and North of Ireland protestants. It is unreal. For the success of the whole scheme all know that practically the new college must be Catholic in atmosphere and teaching.He suggested to the House that this showed the diversity of opinion which prevailed on this matter. Then they had the evidence of Bishop O'Dwyer given before the Robertson Commission, and this was what he said—Over and against that ideal of education is our Catholic ideal. Our ideal of education is that religion and secular knowledge cannot be separated, and that at the time between, say, eighteen years of age and twenty-five years of age, it is necessary for him [i.e.. for a student] to be brought up in surroundings that will be congenial to his faith and favourable to the growth of it. All the sciences that are taught in a university come in contact with so many aspects of religion and so many views of religious life, that it is impossible to teach secularism purely without in one way or another touching on the religious issue.And then, cross-examined by the Chairman of the Commission, he was asked if he had any objection to laymen forming part of the governing body of the College, and the following were the questions answered—Chairman.—It has been remarked that it does not matter whether the lay element is numerically predominant or not; it all depends on whether you have got the right laymen.Bishop O'Dwyer.—That of course would have a very great deal to say to it.Chairman.—I suppose by the right men you mean people who would, in Dr. Healy's words, generally defer at once to the ascertained views of the bishops on questions of this kind?Bishop O'Dwyer.—On any question of faith and morals, I take it for granted among Catholic people that they would defer to the bishops.He read these extracts as showing where they would be led if the scheme outlined by Mr. Bryce were accepted. Of course, he desired to bear in mind that the present Chief Secretary dissociated himself from the speech made by Mr. Bryce, and was by no means committed to the outlines therein contained. But they had not on the other hand heard from the present Chief Secretary what his particular scheme was, and, therefore, Mr. Bryce's scheme 956 remained the only Government plan at present before the country. Those extracts showed the objections the vast majority of the Protestants of the North of Ireland entertained towards this scheme. They had always sent a certain number of their youths to Trinity College, and so long as it remained upon its present status they would continue to do so. What he wished to remind the Committee of was that, whilst a strong claim had been made out for the sons of Roman Catholics, the claims of Protestants should not be minimised. The existing educational institutions in Ireland had been carried on in the past under enlightened auspices, and no difficulty, even in the case of Queen's College, Belfast, had ever arisen precluding the sons of Roman Catholics from taking advantage of that institution. He could recall more than one case where the sons of Roman Catholics had come to the Belfast Queen's College and had done themselves credit by taking off some of the highest honours which that college could give. He had never heard it suggested that, in the atmosphere of the Queen's Colleges either in the north or in the south of Ireland, there had been any religions difficulty, and he hoped that when the Government did finally fulfil its promise they would bear in mind that although the Protestants were in a minority, minorities had some right to consideration, and whatever arrangements they made they would see that opportunities for Protestants were not lessened. He trusted that in some way or other a solution of this matter would be reached that would give the youth of Ireland fuller and even better opportunities for higher education than they had yet enjoyed.
§ MR. BIRRELL
said he desired at the outset of his remarks to say a word or two about the Queen's Colleges. He had not had an opportunity since his accession to his present office to make himself personally acquainted with any of these three colleges, except the college of Cork; but he must not be understood as in any way agreeing with anything that had been said that seemed to imply that Queen's College, Cork, was otherwise than a most satisfactory and energetic institution. He 957 was not easily moved by academic surroundings, nor was he one of those sentimental persons who sought every opportunity of expressing their own enormous obligations to University education. He had noticed that; for the most part the people who were the most sentimental about their college days wore those who were idlest whilst they were there. Cork College, however, appeared to him to be a most satisfactory and thoroughly alive institution. It had 261 students, the largest number in any year since 1884. These students were eager and keen, poor in outward circumstances, leading the academic life in more of the mediaeval sense, or the Scottish sense, than we were accustomed to in Oxford or in Cambridge at the present time, living in poor lodgings in Cork, but studying, particularly scientific subjects, with the utmost zeal and enthusiasm, and as their achievements in all parts of the world showed, both in chemistry and in engineering, with very marked success. If ever there was a place where the academic life was honestly and thoroughly led, it was at present, under the able, sympathetic headship of Dr. Windle, in the poor, but, he hoped, some day prosperous college, or prosperous University of Cork. He quoted from page 418 of the Appendix to the final Report of the Royal Commission some observations of Dr. Coghlan of Maynooth, which ought to receive the fullest consideration of the Roman Catholie Church and of all good Catholics in Ireland. It was an article reprinted from the pages of a magazine, in which he asked—And if Cork and Galway Colleges were reconstituted to-morrow on Catholic lines, and if we gut a college for Catholics in Dublin, have we Catholics ready to fill the professorships in these colleges and in the seminaries? Shall we be ready when—if ever—the education difficulty is finally solved? Through the example of their distinguished President and Catholic professors, and through the zeal of their spiritual director, the Catholic students of the Queen's College, Cork, are recognised to be as Safe to-day in the matter of faith and morals as the extern students of any college in Ireland; and yet priests are forbidden sub gravi to 'advise' any student to go there, and the college is supposed to remain a proximate occasion of mortal sin. No doubt there is no guarantee of the continuance of this happy state of things, and consequently no change should be made in the official relation of the Church to the college; but while the Church's 958 official relation remains the same, would it not be better somewhat in practice rather to-send as many students as possible to such a college, particularly to study Arts, with a view to qualify them for professorships and other public offices in the country?That was a view which any Catholic could assent to without running any danger to his faith or morals; and he hoped that nothing might be done to impair the efficiency of these places. He hoped, on the contrary, that they might receive from the Treasury much more generous support than they had hitherto received, and that they had a considerable career of usefulness before them. Upon the actual question now before them he was glad to notice that upon the whole there had been very few speeches which had shown any indication of going back on what he had always understood to be the general consent of both Parties in the House, and to be supported by every Commission that had sat on this question. It would indeed, he thought, be a grievous thing were the House in any way to express the faintest measure of indisposition to recognise what had always been found to be the case, that the present state of University education in Ireland was lamentably deficient, that its lack was a grievous injury to the country, and inflicted serious loss upon the people themselves, and also upon the public-service. That had been for many years past admitted, and it had also been admitted that Trinity College, as it was at present, could not possibly, in any circumstances, meet this necessary want. Some persons had spoken as if the dislike to Trinity College was confined to Catholics. He was bound to say that during the time he had had some personal opportunity of making himself acquainted with the subject he had found the dislike of the Presbyterians for Trinity College was expressed with far greater bitterness, much more vehemence, and more personal feeling than any he had heard from the mouths of Roman Catholics. Therefore, it must be said that Trinity College had completely failed to meet the wants of Roman Catholics and Presbyterians. He did not think that after the speeches they had heard in the House and after the letters written by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, who, he doubted not, was more 959 profitably occupied somewhere else—[Laughter.] He was speaking quite seriously. He had no doubt the right hon. Gentleman was more profitably employed elsewhere. It would have been a pleasure to him, as it always was, to address his observations to the House within the hearing of the right hon. Gentleman. They had had from the right hon. Gentleman and from a great number of persons on his side of the House, including the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Dublin, a full recognition that it was not to be wondered at that the Roman Catholics of Ireland were not willing to send their sons to Trinity College as it was at present constituted, or as there was any chance of its being constituted. That opened up a question he was ill-qualified to discuss, and for the discussion of which he did not think that House was the proper place; that was to say, the question of the natural and proper anxiety parents might feel when selecting a place for the college education of their sons. Some people, no doubt, might think lightly of the matter. Some people might think that provided only a boy went to a college where there was a healthy, manly life, where he was taught to tell the truth and take his own part and obey his tutors, within reason, and was brought up according to the religion of the place and came out a straightforward man—well, they might feel " in my Father's house are many mansions," and it might well be that he would not come to any harm hereafter because of the atmosphere of the place. But they could not expect deeply religious people, whether Catholics or Presbyterians, to regard with such composure the character of the place to which they sent their sons. If a man was of opinion that the character of religious faith was of the utmost importance, they could not expect him to be otherwise than anxious as to the character of the place he was sending his son to. Suppose it were not religion. Suppose it were a question of fiscal reform, and suppose. there were in Ireland an active, eager, and zealous tariff reformer, and he was anxious to send his son to a place where political economy and other subjects were properly taught—would he send his son to an institution built up on the 960 traditions of free trade, where all the professors were free-traders, where the one place of adornment in the school—he must not call it a chapel -the place where the lectures on political economy were delivered, was the centre of free-trade principles, and round the base of the dome of which some such words as these were inscribed: "No tax shall be levied save for purposes of revenue alone?" He wondered whether such a father would be easily satisfied with the assurances of the professors that there were no tests whatever in that place, that everybody was at liberty to hold any kind of opinion in political economy he liked. He would say: "That won't do for me. The whole tone and spirit of the place are based on free trade, all the professors are free-traders, and I find even the professor of Arabic is a free-trader. The whole tone of the place for 300 years past has been that of free trade." I think that father would take away his children—Joseph Chamberlain and Henry Chaplin—from that place and would seek some other place where he could send them and where their economic faith would not be interfered with. He said that simply because he thought it was desirable to change, as it were, the venue, and to look at this matter not purely from a religious point of view, but from any point of view which seriously engaged the thoughts and attentions of mankind. He said, therefore, he entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, who in a remarkable letter which he wrote on January 23rd, 1899, said—At this moment the' vast majority of students ill that great university are Protestants; Protestant services are exclusively performed in its chapel: at this moment, as it happens, the whole of its teaching staff is Protestant, and the eminent theologian who is at its head, distinguished in many departments of learning, is not least distinguished as a brilliant Protestant champion in the controversy between Protestantism and Rome. Now, imagine a university of which this was an accurate description, with the single exception that wherever the word "Protestant ' occurred the words ' Roman Catholic ' were put in its place. Would you willingly send there any Protestant youth for whose education you were responsible? For myself I answer the question unhesitatingly in the negative. Perhaps I am bigoted, bill: if so I am assured that there are many Protestant parents to be found not less bigoted in Ireland. To them, at least, I can confidently appeal not to condemn 961 others for doing what they, under like circumstances, would do themselves.The hon. Member for one of the divisions of Worcestershire, who had spoken as a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, thought that if only Roman Catholics would be courageous in this matter and persisted in sending their children to Trinity College for the next thirty or forty years, why, in time they might effect a cure—they might import a Catholic atmosphere even into Trinity College, and the difficulty might be removed. That was a very heroic and noble policy. But he could quite understand a man who had two or three children thinking that their religious faith during the next thirty or forty years was a matter of greater importance than the atmosphere of Trinity College thirty or forty years hence. Whether their sons would really run any great risk in attending Trinity College was a question which he declined altogether to answer. He said that they were responsible in that House, particularly those members who refused to concede to Ireland what he was perfectly willing at any moment to concede—namely, her own Home Rule Parliament, which would have control of this question. Hon. Members who refused to give Ireland that right ought to be the first to concede to the Roman Catholics of Ireland that which they demanded, and this Unionism was, after all, a contemptible thing unless they were prepared to do justice to the country which they refused to allow to govern itself. The hon. and learned Gentleman who moved the reduction of the Vote raised this point quite clearly, that the kind of university which was really required in order to meet the needs of the Irish people was not met, even apart from the religious controversy, by the same old-fashioned arrangements, classical and mathematical, of Trinity College. He confessed that he thought Ireland was peculiarly a country which required for the education of its younger men a modern spirit in University education.
962 The right hon. Gentleman the member for the University of Dublin had spoken feelingly of the necessity of educating the surveyors of Ireland—he could only think of the surveyors, but there were other persons such as clerks to boards of guardians, and holders of other appointments, which in Ireland, as, indeed, in England or anywhere else, would be all the better filled by people the better educated they were. The right hon. and learned Member said that University education was particularly desirable in Ireland because those people stood in need of a better education than they had got. Well, we all stood in need of a better education than we got, and he did not think any particular distinction need be drawn between one community and another. But, obviously, if those persons were to receive the benefit of a University education, that University education must be made to proceed upon simple and democratic lines. And, therefore, quite apart from the religious difficulty and the traditions of Trinity College, which were so strong and powerful, he thought that the University education required in Ireland should be far more elastic, and have far more recognition of the needs of the people, both technical and national. And, therefore, he thought that in those respects there was much to be said for the views put forward by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. He must refer to the very short and blunt speech of the hon. Member for Louth. His speeches always had a very clear motive, and, therefore, they could clearly understand why they were made. The hon. and learned Gentleman was kind enough to intimate his opinion that he had been betrayed over the Irish Council Bill. Well, he repudiated that statement altogether. He was certainly disappointed, and he was surprised, but betrayed he most distinctly was not. He was glad to hear that, if in this matter of University education he wanted a real, true, and trustful friend in whom he could place confidence, he had only to apply to the hon. and learned Member The Prime Minister suggested the other 963 day, when he sent him over to Ireland to look into this matter, that he was a man of a sanguine disposition. He did not know whether he was or not, but he was a man of a trustful and hopeful disposition; and he could assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that, if he would give him assistance at any time in settling this education question, he would be very grateful to him for that aid.
§ MR. BIRRELL
said it could not be news to the hon. and learned Gentleman, who was one of the most skilled Parliamentarians in the House, that, regrettable as it might be, Ministers of ten announced in the King's Speech promises to introduce measures which the fulness of time did not enable them to fulfil. He pleaded guilty in that matter. He was responsible for suggesting that there should be included in the King's Speech both the Irish Council Bill and a University Bill. He was hopeful at that time that it might be possible to introduce those measures and to see them through. He perceived now that it was not, and he could only express his own regret that it was so. As for a breach of faith, he repudiated it entirely. He could say, for his own part, that he should be unable to consent to hold the office he did if the Government were shelving this question, if they were not determined to do all they could to accomplish its solution. But the hon. and learned Gentleman and everybody knew full well that it was one of the most difficult questions that could possibly engage their attention. It was not a question of his good will. It was not even a question of the good will of the hon. and learned Gentleman or of the Irish people. It was a question of that House. It was a question of hon. Gentlemen opposite, of some hon. Gentlemen who sat behind him, and of the House of Lords at the other end of the lobby. All these things had to be taken into consideration; and a person 964 would have to be sanguine to the point of folly who did not recognise that it would be exceedingly difficult, unless it were made the one Bill of the session, to fight through that House and the other House any higher education question in Ireland which did not receive a very full measure of support. Unanimity he put entirely on one side. Ho did not expect that he or any one could make any proposal which would be received with anything like practical unanimity, but there were some forces and some kinds of opposition which had to be taken into consideration.
§ MR. BIRRELL
Yes, certainly; and if the hon. and learned Gentleman simply wished to bring against him the accusation of inexperience and of over-hopefulness he must submit, as many far greater men than he had had to submit, to being exposed to that censure from him. But he had learned by experience, and he did not think he was likely to fall into that error again. Mr. Bryce's scheme had been much criticised. He would have said that Mr. Bryce, of all men in the world, was the man best qualified by his own. past life and experience to deal with this University question. If ever there was a man who was, in every sense of the word, a University man it was his right hon. friend. He was the quintessence of knowledge on the subject. He had served on more educational committees than even the present Member for the University of Cambridge. He had himself led a college life. He was a man of European reputation and of enormous learning, and he threw himself into this question with greater prima facie qualifications for it than anybody else whom he had ever known. And he succeeded in a very remarkable degree in obtaining greater support both from the Roman Catholic community and from the Presbyterian community than he thought had ever been received before. 965 He could not go behind the public expressions of those conclusions. He did not say that that was the only scheme they were prepared to support.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT (Down, N.),
amidst loud cries of "Order," was understood to ask whether the hon. Gentleman accepted Mr. Bryce's conclusions.
§ MR. BIRRELL
hoped the hon. Member would allow him to proceed. It was not for him to go behind the public expressions of the various persons with whom Mr. Bryce had communications. He was not prepared to say that they were of opinion that his scheme was the best. All he knew was that they acquiesced in his scheme and were led to give it a very full measure of support—both the Roman Catholics and representatives of the Presbyterians of the north, far better qualified to speak on behalf of that body than the hon. Member who interrupted him. He said therefore, that Mr. Bryce's scheme was one which he was well entitled to put forward. Whether he was altogether wise in entering into the detail that he did was another matter altogether. The hon. Member for the University of Cambridge had complained rather that Mr. Bryce made his speech so soon after the Report of the Commissioners and without giving anybody the opportunity of reading the evidence. But Mr. Bryce made that quite plain before he left. Mr. Bryce's own view had always been in favour of the scheme which he foreshadowed. He referred it to the Royal Commission, and if they had reported against it, he would have felt bound to drop it; but inasmuch as the Commission, by a majority reported in its favour Mr. Bryce felt at liberty to take the scheme up and recommend its adoption as the best solution of 966 the problem. Mr. Bryce's scheme had been before the country for some time, and it had received the support, not only of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, but also of a very large number of distinguished members of the laity, upwards of 2,000 of whom had signed a document in general support of the scheme. In the same way the Presbyterians had, at their General Assembly, expressed a general support of the scheme. That was a considerable achievement on the part of Mr. Bryce, and his scheme could not be regarded as an impossible solution of the question. But he admitted that it had excited a very great degree of opposition on the part of Trinity College. He should not have been disposed to attach too much importance to that if he had not felt, when he came to look into the matter, and to discuss it with the heads of the colleges, a doubt as to how far they had fully grasped the significance of the whole scheme. They were all possessed with the view that, though they were to be members of the same University, they were all to have the fullest autonomy in college management; and when he cross-examined them to find how much autonomy they were prepared to sacrifice in order that there might really be a University properly so-called, controlling degrees and exercising a potent voice in the examinations, he found such great differences of opinion among them as led him to believe that at closer quarters this asset would be found to be a delusive asset. That filled him with some amount of scepticism as to how far a true solution of the question was to be found on these lines. Therefore, he put himself into conmunication with persons who had assented to Mr. Bryce's scheme and expressed their willingness to adopt it, in order to see whether or not any other 967 possible solution would receive the same measure of support from' them. He was not now at liberty to state what the result of those communications had been.
§ MR. BIRRELL
Oh, certainly. He might say, however, that he had reason to believe that these persons would be willing to associate themselves with some other scheme; and, therefore, though he did not in any sense give up Mr. Bryce's scheme as a possible solution, he now believed that it would be possible to work with the same people; and that, desiring to obtain, and obtaining, the same consent as Mr. Bryce obtained, a modification of that scheme might be adopted which would very much reduce opposition; and, what was a matter of some importance, that some one or other of the measures with which his name was associated should find itself eventually on the Statute Book. But he did not regard those men as being his true friends who sought to urge him on, even by compliment, as to this, that, or the other thing. His heart was more set on the vital importance of obtaining a solution of this University question than on anything else. What chance would there be in the next session of securing a solution? The next session of the House did not occupy a very cheerful position to an eager legislator who wished to see himself immortalised on the Statute Book. Matters of great importance would be before the House, and there were certain forces and elements in his own Party which led him to ask what chance there was of the Government being able next session successfully to solve this question unless they had, at all events, done their very best to come to something like a friendly 968 conclusion upon it. He did not think that there was anything to be asbamed of in that view. The question was not a popular one. It shattered the great Administration of Mr. Gladstone; it divided the Tory Party into two ranks, just as they were divided on the question of Catholic emancipation. It was, therefore, a vexed question, a difficult question, a question which a cautious man would, as far as possible, abstain from having anything to do with. But he connected himself with it; he associated himself with it, and he had no other desire than to pass the measure through the House. He hoped that during the autumn he would be able to approach it. There was no hardship in passing one's autumn in Ireland. He would just as lief spend it there as anywhere else, and he only hoped that it would be a longer autumn than the last. During that time he would certainly welcome all the help he could got from any one—he cared not who—in order to secure a solution of the question—a solution which would enable the vast majority of the people, being good and faithful Roman Catholics, to receive an education within the walls of a University where they could be seat by their fathers and mothers and by the priests of their religion, with at least confidence that they would be taught nothing destructive of their religious belief. These were his views, and he expressed his own regret that the question proved to be one of such great difficulty and complexity that it was impossible to pass it through Parliament this session. He hoped, however, that it might be possible to pass it through next session.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
said he wished to take this, the first opportunity he had had, of 969 expressing his dissent from that part of Mr. Bryce's scheme which left out Queen's College, Galway, from the final university settlement. He himself had been a student at that college, and he made this protest because he thought it was an essential element of the true and practical settlement of the university question in Ireland, that colleges should be scattered all over the country, as far as possible, and education brought to the doors of even the poorest of the poor. He strongly urged the Chief Secretary that he should not only leave Queen's College there, but leave it intact as a member of the university body. He had also been disappointed in some other respects. They knew that the right hon. Gentleman was a genuine friend of Ireland, and that if he failed in dealing with this question or any other this session it was due to the overwhelming difficulties in the way not only of Irish but of English reforms. But it did not make their disappointment less keen that the Government, having been relieved of the Irish Council Bill, had not proceeded this session with the University Bill, at all events to the length of introducing it, so that some advance might be made. The Catholics of Ireland were not divided but united in this matter. Mr. Bryce's scheme was supported by 2,000 Catholic laymen in Ireland before the hierarchy pronounced their opinion upon it. The Irish Catholic surely ought not to be reproached by a Nonconformist for not taking advantage of the splendid equipment of Trinity College. In Wales the Established Church had magnificent cathedrals, and the Welsh Nonconformist was invited to enter them and was offered social and political reward for doing so, but to his honour he insisted on going to his own little red-brick chapel.
970 Surely the Irish Catholics ought not to be reproached for not taking advantage of Trinity College, and for having preferred conscience to convenience. Nonconformists should be the last to reproach them, seeing that the whole history of Nonconformists was one record of their preferring spiritual to temporal advantages. The Catholics did not go into Trinity College because they believed the faith of their children was likely to be sapped and undermined by the associations there. He honoured his people for withstanding the temptation. The right hon. Member for the City of London had struck a deeper and a truer, a more liberal and tolerant note. It was well that it should be so. The arguments of the hon. Member for the Cricklade division were familiar to his coreligionists. They were familiar in Russia, not in England. In Russia it was often pointed out that the Jews would often escape massacre if they would abandon their religion, but the Jews preferred the risk of massacre to the abandonment of their religion. He thought that it was not asking too much that the most ancient form of Christianity in the world should have the same tolerance extended towards it as was given to every man in that House and to every other religious community. The right hon. Gentleman had now before him the scheme of Mr. Bryce. It was only one of three schemes of University reform in Ireland which had been submitted within the last few years. This third scheme had been accompanied by the very remarkable declaration that it was not only the scheme of the Government, but was the only scheme that the Government was going to support. The scheme was submitted to the public opinion of Ireland, and the laity and the hierarchy approved it; many of the Presbyterians approved 971 it; yet the Bill no sooner proved itself susceptible to public opinion in Ireland than immediately it joined the other phantoms of past schemes, and was buried almost before they had seen it. That was trifling with the question. For two generations this question had been the battledore and shuttlecock of English politics. Englishmen did not seek to impose English ideals on the Parsee, the Mahomedan, or the Jew, but only on the Catholics of Ireland. That was not his idea of true Liberalism; it was not true toleration, he did not think that it was even true religion. It was all vanity and vexation of spirit on either side. He knew that many men had mourned, as he mourned, the religious differences which existed, but these would only be aggravated by imposing on Irishmen a system of education of which they did not approve. Ho trusted that the right hon. Gentleman when he came to deal with the question in the next session of Parliament would not find any hostility on his own side, but that the mass of enlightened and genuine Liberalism would back him in giving to the people that education of which by genius and intellect they had less right than any other nation to be deprived.
§ MR. T. L. CORBETT
said the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had made a deliberate attack on Ulster Members for speaking of the Catholic Church as the Roman Catholic Church—[Cries of "Romish"]—but in the last Parliament the Leader of the Nationalist Party, in writing to one of the Bishops, described the Catholic Church as the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, there could be no insult whatever in using the words "Romish Church" in the debate. He wished to call attention to one extraordinary 972 sentence in the speech of the Chief Secretary for Ireland, that he was prepared to grant any day a full measure of Home Rule to Ireland. He had the courage of his convictions, but had the right hon. Gentleman consulted his colleagues in the Cabinet? It was easy to sit on the front Bench and make such a statement, when the Foreign Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and other Members of the Government, who were against Home Rule, were not in their places.
§ And, it being Eleven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress: to sit again upon Monday next.