§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. BIRRELL,) Bristol, N.
, in asking leave to introduce a Bill to make further provision with respect to University Education in Ireland said: In describing the main and salient features of a long-promised, painfully delayed, and much misunderstood measure, I think I may safely promise to be reasonably brief. I pray I may be intelligible, and if heaven comes to my aid even businesslike. At all events no accents of party will mar the dignity of my theme, and I will promise to be as dull as I can. I have only one preliminary observation to make, but I must make it in bare justice to my old friend, former colleague, and immediate predecessor in the office I hold. Mr. Bryce has been exposed to a cert in amount of acidulated criticism because, on the eve of his departure for Washington, he, being still Chief Secretary and knowing who his successor was to be, thought fit in Dublin in answer to an important northern deputation to give the outlines of the University measure which the Government then hoped in a short time to be able to introduce to the notice of the House. It 332 has been suggested that Mr. Bryce was hardly justified in taking this course, that he was doing something which added quite unnecessarily to the burden of his successor. Mr. Bryce was fully justified in doing what he did. He had acquainted his colleagues with the nature and character of his proposals, and he had asked and obtained my permission to receive and address the deputation. He believed, and I believed, and for the matter of that I still believe, that it was desirable and helpful that he before leaving Dublin for good should publicly place on record what his plan was and the measure—the very large measure—of support which that plan had undoubtedly received. But the absent are always in the wrong. Mr. Bryce is now absent in Washington busily, and as I think the House will agree, nobly, occupied in removing one by one all possible causes of dispute between ourselves and the United States, and I am sure no one would wish that he should be exposed to any criticism in this House which he really does not deserve, and to which he cannot reply. Mr. Bryce left Dublin for Washington; and I left Whitehall for Dublin. When the Prime Minister, much to my dismay and amazement, for the thought of going to Ireland had never entered my mind, asked me whether I was willing to go there, I, with that frankness which the Prime Minister, exhibiting always himself, is entitled to expect from others, told him that, were it not for the hope of being able to deal with this University question, nothing could induce me to make myself responsible for a single week for the government of Ireland. I had the courage to believe that this hope of mine was not groundless; and in pursuit of it I am willing to admit I crossed to Dublin. This University question is not a sentimental question. I disclaim altogether the notion of being a man of sentiment. I am nothing of the kind. The proper provision of higher education in Ireland, cheap, popular, and good—above all good—is, in my judgment and the judgment of everyone who has given attention to the subject, a vital necessity. I thought so before I took up the office of Chief Secretary, and every hour I have been in it, every deputation I have received, every resolution I have read and torn up, all the experience I have 333 gained—and it has been by no means inconsiderable—has intensified my conviction that Ireland not only needs it—to tell the truth, we all need it, this House, as much as any other assembly of men, needs it—but what Ireland eagerly needs and demands is good teaching and mental discipline. In things material, in things necessary for the defence of our island home, we all aim at being at least twice as strong at sea as any two foreign nations. I only wish we were equally bent on being half as intelligent on land. If hon. Members during their short Easter holiday would take the opportunity to visit Strasburg—a place which evokes many bitter, black memories, associated as it is, and has been for centuries past, with war and a double aggression—they would see what the people of Germany are doing for the people of Alsace; and I think they would discover that, after all, foreign Universities may do this country, during every hour of every day of the academic year, a considerable amount of injury by way of competition. Something has been done in England, Scotland, and Wales to supply this undoubted want. A great number—I think, ten—of teaching Universities have of recent years sprung up among our great and murky towns—Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, and last, but by no means least, Birmingham, are now being associated in the minds of their younger citizens, not merely with docks and warehouses, not merely with shops and factories, least of all with gaols, lunatic asylums, and workhouses, but nobler structures from which are streaming forth the inspiring traditions, the ever-strengthening traditions, of University life and training. Ireland must not be left out. What is the present provision for university education in Ireland? There are two Universities in Ireland, one founded by Queen Elizabeth, and the other founded by Queen Victoria—two famous women, but separated by a long distance of time. The elder foundation is, of course, the University of Dublin, so inextricably entangled with its one College of Trinity as to become known throughout the world as Trinity College, Dublin. Everybody knows Trinity College, Dublin, her imposing sit—one of the noblest in Europe—her magnificent buildings, her famous 334 library with its priceless manuscripts, her gardens, her proud memories in science, in literature, and in mathematics. Among its alumni are lawyers, doctors, parsons, mostly of the Protestant persuasion, all the world over, and I do not suppose there is in this House a man, I will not say who is happy enough, but who has not at one time or another in his life been preached to, prescribe for, or a worse and more cruel fate than that, cross-examined as to character by some member of Trinity College, Dublin. This great foundation is not only splendidly constituted, but also splendidly endowed. Her revenues from what may be fairly called public sources have been estimated at exceeding £50,000 a year. The generosity of her sons, by private bequests and otherwise, have greatly added to her wealth, and the fees of her numerous students are no more than an increment of her income. It has been calculated that her income from all sources does not fall far short of £90,000 a year. It has been sometimes said that she is the richest college or University in our Empire; but this is not the case, for Edinburgh, "mine own romantic town," as Scott called it, has an annual revenue of £117,000 a year, and her capital resources have been lately calculated at £750,000, which leaves out of account all her magnificent buildings, splendid medical school, McEwan Hall, and all things of that kind. But though Trinity College, Dublin, is not so wealthy as Edinburgh, she is still comfortably off. As Universities go, Trinity, Dublin, must be pronounced in this matter of religious tests, at all events, to be in the Van of progress. Roman Catholics were admitted to her degrees in 1793. It is, perhaps, a little remarkable that in a Roman Catholic country Roman Catholics should not have been admitted to the only University in that country until more than 200 years after its foundation; but in these matters it does not do to be too particular, and so far as the cash emoluments are concerned, everybody has been admitted to them in Trinity without any regard to creed or religious opinions since 1873; and in this respect, although the dates are rather remarkable, Trinity contrasts favourably with Oxford and Cambridge. With justice or without, Trinity College 335 remains what she was from the first, a great, proud, and historical Protestant institution. She has to-day some thousand students, of whom a hundred or thereabouts are Roman Catholics. The number of Presbyterians is even less, for the indisposition of Presbyterians to come to Trinity is even more marked than that of the Roman Catholics. She gives her degrees to women, whom, however, she admits on merely passing a written examination, without regard to residence, except so far as that is necessary for the purposes of examination. Ireland's other University£the Royal University, founded in 1879, replaced Queen's, established in 1850. The Royal University is not, strictly speaking, a University at all, for she teaches nothing. She merely examines, mainly, except in the medical schools, by written questions, all who proffer themselves for that purpose, and she awards those who obtain a sufficient number of marks in these examinations a degree. She has no professors or teachers of her own; she needs none. An army of examiners serves her turn. Her buildings are never crowded with students, save for the purpose of being examined; her laboratories are empty save during the examination period; people come to the Royal University not to learn, but to answer questions. The Royal University has an annual income of £20,000 a year; but my old friend "the predominant partner" must not too readily take credit to himself for generosity in this respect towards poor Ireland, because the whole of this £20,000 comes from the Irish Church Fund. What Ireland would be, or where I should be, without this Church Fund I dare not think. It is indeed a horn filled with plenty. It took over in 1869, and I hope the House will bear this in mind, the £26,000 a year which up to that date appeared annually on our Votes for the maintenance of Maynooth. The £26,000 a year was then capitalised at fourteen years' purchase, and the sum—a very large sum—was a grant from the Irish Church Fund. That was Mr. Gladstone's bargain, and I quite agree with what was said yesterday, that that indeed was the day of grants. If this Royal University does not teach, who does prepare for the 336 degrees that University confers, who does teach the students who only present themselves to its walls in order to proceed to further degrees? These young men and women are taught at one or other of four colleges, at Magee College, or private establishments, and in some cases, not many, by solitary work. The bulk of the students who avail themselves of the Royal University are educated at these private establishments or by solitary studies; the majority of them do not proceed from the colleges I have referred to. These four colleges are the three Queen's Colleges at Belfast, Cork, and Galway, and the Catholic University College in Dublin, so long and so honourably associated with the name of Dr. Delany, and with which the famous medical college in Cecilia Street is closely allied. It may be said to form a medical faculty and a medical college under the headship of Dr. Delany. This Royal University, mere examining body as she is, has done good work in Ireland. She has stimulated ambition by placing degrees within the reach of thousands who never could have gone to Trinity for half a dozen good reasons. The standard of examinations, particularly in her honorus subjects, has been maintained at a high standard. Those who have obtained a degree in honours at the Royal University have got something of which they may well be proud. There are those, I know, who sneer at examinations. I am not one of them. I admit I have always stood in dread of them. I think the House hates quotations, fond as I am of them myself; but in reading over again Sir William Hamilton's "Discussions I came across a famous passage from the great scholar Melancthon on the subject of examinations. I think I will not read it, but I will refer anybody to page 768 of Sir William Hamilton's book. I will read a little bit of it—Examination, therefore, may be called the life of studies, without which reading, and even meditation, is dead. Against prejudice and error there is no surer antidote than examination; for by this the intellect is explored, its wants detected and supplied, its faults and failings corrected. Examination likewise fosters facility of expression, counteracts perturbation, and confusion, inures to coolness and promptitude of thought. Not less useful is examination in restraining the course of youthful study within legitimate boundaries. Nothing is more 337 hurtful, as nothing is more common, than vain and tumultuary reading, which inflates with the persuasion without conferring the reality of erudition. Wherefore, if examination brought no other advantage than that it counteracts the two greatest pests of education, found indeed usually combined, sloth, to wit, and arrogance, for this reason alone should examination be cherished in our Universities. Against sloth there is no goad sharper or more efficacious than examination; and as to arrogance, examination is the very school of humility and improvement.Perhaps that is the reason why I have always shunned examination.By no other discipline is a soaring conceit so effectually taken down, and this is the reason why self-satisfied preterders ever fly examination, whilst those who think less of the little that they know than of the much they know not, resort to it as the most efficacious means of improvement.What I would ask the House to bear in mind is that the Universities which Melancthon had in mind when he wrote what I have just quoted were teaching Universities, and the examinations which he so greatly, and I think so justly valued, were conducted under the guidance and control, though not, I believe, under the sole guidance and control, of the professors and teachers of the Universities themselves, and they were directed to test minutely discipline and training, and not merely verbal memory or a glib repetition, of text books. Between this examining University and the four colleges I have named at Belfast, Cork, Galway, and Dr. Delany's College in Dublin there is no avowed connection. It just so happens that if they want degrees, as most of them do, they come to the Royal University to get them, as in Ireland they have nowhere else to go to. It remains to ask how these four colleges are provided. The history of the three Queen's Colleges at Belfast, Cork, and Galway is a well-known history. It has been made a subject of constant research, and I would certainly advise anybody who wishes to get a clear history of these University proceedings in Ireland to study at least the first few pages of the final Report of what is called the Robertson Commission. I do not know who wrote that Report, but it is certainly a masterpiece of lucid explanation; and there you will find all you need know upon these questions. These three colleges were founded by Sir Robert Peel in 1845. In intention I 338 have no doubt they were excellent, but in Cork and Galway they have entirely failed to fulfil that intention, for the simple reason that no pains whatever seem to have been taken to find out what Irishmen want. You may in Ireland sometimes succeed in sending a man to prison against his will, but never to college. But there are the colleges, very handsome buildings. The Belfast College—I do not know whether there was a scandal or not—it is said, was meant for Cork and the Cork College for Belfast. I do not know that it really matters much now. They are there, and they were paid for by Parliament. At this present moment this college at Belfast costs the Exchequer on an average of the last five years, because the amount varies a little according to the expense of repairs and the like, £13,101; Cork, £11,252; Galway, £10,586; a total of £34,939 When you have added to that certain extra payments from time to time you find that the total cost of these three colleges annually on the average of the last five years, amounts to £36,500. The number of students in these college; to-day is as follows: at Belfast, 390; a Cork, 261; and at Galway, 111—in all, 762. But it is very important to bear in mind that these figures were much larger at the date of the determination of the old Queen's University. The old Queen's University only gave its degrees to students who had attended the colleges, and, therefore, it kept out from its examination those external bodies, private establishments who no` send up the greater half of the person to be examined. Before the date or at the date of the determination of the Queen's University, Belfast, instead of having as now, only 390 students, had 508 students. Cork instead of having only 261 students had 327, and Galway instead of having only 111 students had 208. In all in these days there were 1,043 students at the three colleges whereas now there are only 762. No, there remains to be considered what I call Dr. Delany's College, the Catholic University College in Dublin, and the Medical School. What public money do they get? Well, being frankly Roman Catholic institutions with a Jesuit at the head, of course it is not to be supposed that they can have one penny of public 339 money. Yet without some assistance how could they have kept going all these years even in their present half-starved and ill-conditioned state? The answer is that by arrangement outside this House they are paid some £7,000 a year out of the £20,000 allotted as the endowment of the Royal University. The Royal University gets £20,000 a year from the Irish Church Fund, and about one-half of this sum is annually absorbed in maintenance and upkeep of the University, and the very heavy cost of the examination, whilst the other half is spent on the endowment and establishment of certain fellowships. The whole history of these fellowships will be found on page 6 of Lord Robertson's Commission Report. There are about thirty-nine or forty of these fellowships, each of which is £400 a year. They are distributed amongst the colleges at Belfast, Cork and Galway and the Magee College. These fellowships are assigned and allotted to the professors at the several colleges. In the case of Belfast, Cork and Galway colleges, the professor does not get the whole £400 a year, because he has to bring into the account the salary at the colleges, but the sum is made up. Dr. Delany's College has something like fifteen or sixteen fellowships, and there is one at the Magee College, and they receive the £400 a year. Consequently, as a matter of fact, the Roman Catholic University College and the Medical School do receive out of this £20,000 endowment something a little under £7,000 as being their share, and these fellowship monies. The upshot of all this is that at the present moment the Exchequer finds the sum of £36,500 a year for the maintenance and upkeep of the three Queen's Colleges. The Royal University College gets £20,000 out of the Irish Church Fund and the Roman Catholic University College and Medical School gets £7,000 a year out of that £20,000 by way of indirect endowment. That being the provision for higher education in Ireland—assuming reform to be necessary, and all the Commissions, Reports and evidence put that, I think, beyond the possibility of doubt—there are only two ways of handling this problem. Some federation is unfortunately necessary. Cork College I hope has a great future before it. I do not believe she is at the present time strong enough 340 nor are the classes sufficiently well attended to establish Cork with a University of her own. Galway, in which I feel great interest, is in a weaker position than Cork, and not perhaps so well situated for the purpose. Therefore some federation of these outlying colleges is absolutely necessary. The question is: Are you going to federate as much or as little as possible? That is where I admit the present proposals of the Government do undoubtedly come into collision with Mr. Bryce's scheme, but it is only fair to remember that Mr. Bryce's scheme has been greatly criticised since he formulated it, whilst he has not been in a position to attend here and the force of these criticisms he has not been able to appreciate. The big federal scheme which the Government have rejected was to include in one University Belfast in the north, Cork in the south, Galway (as an affiliated college it is true) in the west, and Trinity College, Dublin, with her 300 years behind her, and a new college in Dublin. All these colleges were to be the colleges of one university under one federal centre. Thus you would get a number of states, each with its own code of state rights which would be most jealously guarded and subject to the federal control of a senate, meeting, I suppose, in Dublin. When I began to go down into the depths of the problem in Ireland I found that this big federation scheme outside Trinity College altogether was very unpopular. The three Queen's Colleges, all of which I visited, and which were to be states in the new federation, were strongly opposed to the scheme. "A sprawling University," as it was rather rudely called, can never be a popular University. In these matters of Universities local patriotism, the genius loci as it is called, plays, and must play, a great part. State rights, federal rights, the rights of the colleges to govern themselves, so far as is consistent with their being members of a federal body, must give rise to much trouble and future difficulty. State rights and federal rights give rise to wars among human forces, and in Universities, although there is no bloodshed, they give rise to wars of pamphlets and bitterness, and, apart from bloodshed, the one kind of quarrel is as bad as the other. No quarrels are so fierce as those begotten 341 by academical rivalry. I think that the academical difficulties which press upon me arise from the fact that the outlying colleges of Cork and Galway do require, and I think they are justly entitled to require, a large measure of autonomy. The question is how much autonomy you can give to outlying colleges consistent with their being part of a federal University. There are a great many people in Dublin no doubt who would like to see a two-college system in Dublin alone. They would have liked to see a another college in Dublin admitted into the old University side by side with Trinity College. To the sentimentalist that is a very attractive idea and to the economist I am bound to say that it at first sight seems to be perfectly common sense. But Trinity College, Dublin, declined the proposal, and if it is to be carried out it must he done by Parliamentary force, and this to me, I frankly admit, robs the scheme of all its attractiveness. The two colleges, the old and the new, would begin by hating each other. The notion that colleges love one another simply because they are in juxtaposition to one another is a total error. Indeed, college life is rather apt to stiffen into and breed dislike. Sometimes it almost amounts to acute feeling. The present Prime Minister and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition are both Cambridge men and were at the same college. I am also a member of that University, but of another college, far more ancient than Trinity College, though not so well endowed. Yet when I asked the Prime Minister whether he had been inside Trinity Hall he was not content with a negative, but added words which seemed to me words almost of contumely. I will not ask the right hon. Gentleman opposite whether he has been in Trinity Hall, because I should be sorry to run the risk of getting the same kind of answer from him. I find with regard to the two-college scheme in Dublin that, although it may be attractive at first sight to a great many people, they all recognise that the position of Trinity puts it almost, if not entirely, out of the region of practical policy. Whether Trinity is wise or foolish is no concern of mine. Putting, therefore, the two-college scheme on one side, I also found the big federation scheme un- 342 popular with all its component parts. Therefore I confess that after a time, with great reluctance, I found myself more and more driven to find the solution of this difficult problem in a direction which should be free both of this hostility and this unpopularity. Coming now to the plan of the Government itself, I have approached the question in a spirit of the most genuine humility. I have sought advice and counsel from an enormous number of persons, Protestants as well as Catholics inside Trinity and outside Trinity, laity and clergy, and I have not the least desire in any way to associate my own personality with this University question. My only anxiety was to come speedily to some creditable and safe solution; and I believe the proposals that I am now about to make, when they have been subjected to that degree of criticism which, of course, proposals involving so much detail must necessarily be, will be found to have received and to be worthy of receiving, an extraordinary amount of support throughout the length and breadth of Ireland. I now turn to our proposals, and I say at once that by the first clause in the Bill we propose that His Majesty, if he pleases to do so, by charter found two new Universities in Ireland; these two Universities to have their seats respectively in Dublin and in Belfast—two Universities, with bodies corporate, under such names respectively as His Majesty may be pleased to determine. This question of names is, of course, in a certain sense a very important one. I have no ambition to be earthly godfather to these heavenly lights, which will, I hope, continue to dominate the firmament of learning long centuries after all of us have ceased to be. Therefore, at present I leave the question of their names to be hereafter considered. I am told by my academic friends in Belfast that they lean to the name for their University of "The University of Belfast." In Dublin differences of opinion, I dare say, may arise. Some think they would like the University in Dublin to be called "St. Patrick's University." Others think "The University of Ireland" should be chosen. All these things are matters for discussion, and after all a rose under any other name will smell as sweet. 343 In Belfast there will be put one college. In that respect the University of Belfast will resemble the University of Dublin, which has one college—Trinity. Belfast will have only one college, the present Queen's College; and it will not be able to have any other except, of course, by a subsequent Act of Parliament. Dublin will have three constituent colleges, and three only—Cork, Galway, and the new college, with a charter and an incorporated body in Dublin. Cork and Galway will also have to have new charters, and reconstructed governing bodies of a character I will describe in a moment. Neither Belfast nor Dublin will have any power to add to their constituent colleges, although they will have, and must have, severely restricted powers of affiliation, a word which has now become familiar in connection with the University question. The existing Royal University will be dissolved as from some appointed day, and its buildings, property, and endowments will be dealt with in a manner mentioned in the Bill. It is suggested, as a matter of finance, that the £20,000 from the Irish Church Fund shall be divided into two equal parts, and that the University in Belfast shall take £10,000 for maintenance and the new University in Dublin the other £10,000 for maintenance. In neither of these Universities will a religious test of any kind be permitted. Clause 3 of the Bill will read: "No test whatever of religious belief shall be imposed on any person as a condition of his becoming or continuing to be a professor, lecturer, fellow, scholar, exhibitioner, graduate, or student of, or of his holding any office or emolument or exercising any privileges, in, either of the two Universities or any college of those Universities. Nor shall any preference be given to or any advantage be withheld from any person on the ground of religious belief." That applies just as much to the new University in Belfast as it does to the new University in, Dublin. Nor is it proposed that the professors who accept office should enter into any long and rambling declarations as to what they will do or will not do, or will say or will not say, as they do at present under a somewhat elaborate undenominational system. There will be no test, nor any of these preliminary 344 declarations as to what the professors are expected to do. It will be asked, who are the governing bodies? These two new Universities will be governed academically by their Senates, and these Senates, after a very short space of time, will ultimately be bodies elected for the most part. The Crown reserves its right of making certain nominations; but the Senates will be academically elected bodies, and anybody who has the honour of finding himself a member hereafter of either of these Senates will be so because he has received the confidence and the votes of the professors and graduates of these Universities. They will be academically elected bodies. The details of the composition of the permanent Senates will be hereafter a matter of discussion; they will be found set out in the schedule to the Bill, which the House will have a full opportunity of discussing.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London)
I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has made it clear whether the right of the Crown to nominate will be a perpetual right. Will it lapse after a few years?
§ MR. BIRRELL
No, it will be a perpetual right. But the thing has to be set going in the first instance. Therefore it is proposed in the charters of these Universities that both the Senate in Belfast and the Senate in Dublin shall be nominated for a period of five years. The names will be found in the charters. It is impossible in matters of this sort to state these things in a Bill which of necessity has to be a good deal of a skeleton. But it is essential that the House should be able to have the whole thing before it in all its details, and although charters from the Crown have to be dealt with delicately, I have caused to be prepared preliminary drafts of the charters of the Universities in Dublin and Belfast, and of the new college in Dublin, and of the new charters of Cork and Galway, and I propose to lay on the Table all those charters in their preliminary drafts as Parliamentary Papers along with the Bill. So the House will be in full possession of them, I hope, in a very few days—a considerable time before the Easter holidays. Hon. 345 Members who like to pay sufficient attention to the subject will be in possession of the full details of the scheme. As to the proposed size of the Senates, so far as we have got at present the Dublin Senate is composed of thirty-six members and the Belfast Senate of thirty-five. I deprecate very much any inquiry as to the religious beliefs of these gentlemen and ladies—there are two ladies on the first nominated Senates. I know it is most difficult to prevent questions arising upon that point. I may say I am informed by my theological scouts—I have no knowledge myself, I cannot be expected to have knowledge of the religious beliefs of seventy or eighty gentlemen and ladies with whom I have only been brought into contact on a purely academic subject—I am informed that on the Belfast nominated Senate there is one Roman Catholic and on the Dublin nominated Senate there are seven Protestants. Amongst them I am glad to notice the name of my hon. friend opposite the Member for the University of Cambridge, and I may be permitted to express the hope that, if all goes well, he will succeed in infusing into the new University some portion of his own passion for the Humanities, and even, it may be, some trace of his own exquisite scholarship. The permanent constitution of these two Senates will be found stated in the first schedule of the Bill. I will indicate very roughly what it is in Dublin. The Chancellor of the University, the Vice-Chancellor, the three presidents of the constituent colleges of Dublin, Cork, and Galway, the persons nominated by His Majesty, one at least of whom is to be a woman. Then the three colleges of Dublin, Cork, and Galway will elect fourteen. I have no doubt by that means the professorial body will be largely represented on the governing body. Convocation will elect five, and there are powers for the co-optation of six. I merely mention this as a scheme which, on the whole, after careful consideration, commends itself to the mind of the Government, but in no way, I need scarcely say, as being a final settlement of the composition of this permanent body. Our object is to make it an academic body, and to prevent anything like ex officio repre- 346 sentation appearing upon it, in order that the University graduates and professors hereafter may have full power of representing themselves. The composition of the Belfast body is somewhat different. There is the Chancellor and they propose to have two pro-Chancellors. They are very anxious to honour Sir Donald Currie in his old age for his great generosity and the interest he takes in this subject. I only regret that Lord Kelvin has disappeared before this dear wish in his heart has been realised. Then the Crown nominates, the professors elect, the graduates elect, and the Lord Mayor for the time being, the president for the time being of the Belfast Chamber of Commerce, and the chairman of the board of management of the Royal Victoria Hospital have all got places on the permanent Senate of Belfast University. Now, the governing bodies of Cork and Galway have to be considered, because a great part of the success of the new university in Dublin depends upon Cork and Galway becoming flourishing constituent centers. They are at present governed by a president and six of the professors, a close corporation. For reasons I need not give, these two colleges have never in any way tapped the resources of the parts of the country where they are situated. I do not believe there is any part of the country where there is a larger supply of eager students, men, not wealthy, but anxious to learn, and if the governing bodies are reconstructed they will largely increase their numbers. There has been no difficulty whatever in the reconstruction of these bodies. Nothing has been more gratifying to me. They have been reconstructed so that they will contain some twenty persons. All classes and creeds have combined to express their willingness to work in any scheme of this kind. Therefore we shall have no difficulty. Catholic bishops, Protestant bishops, the Catholic gentry, professional men, and persons academical are associated upon these temporary bodies. In the case of these bodies it is thought that three years will be sufficient as the period of nomination. After these three years they also will be academically elected bodies. Provision has been made in both cases for local representation. 347 Local authorities, county councils, and the like have agreed to participate in the work which, I am sure, will benefit them, even if it does not always benefit the bodies with whom they are associated. Then in Dublin University I do exactly the same thing. A three years nominated governing body to be replaced at the end of that time by an academically elected governing body. The powers of the Senate are similar in all cases and are set out in the charters, and the charters are really very much in the form of copies of other charters which are in existence. They have poster to confer degrees and admit graduates and so on. There are some thirty powers which are very much the same as those which will be found in the charter of the new University of London or any other purely academic body. Questions, however, do arise as to the appointment of professors and as to what would happen on the appointment or dismissal of any professor. The Senates and governing bodies of these Universities must have the appointment of their professors. Here again difficulties arise with the outlying colleges. Some question has arisen as to how far Cork and Galway should have a right to send up three names to the Senate from which the Senate must choose, or whether the Senate should have a right to proceed outside and select somebody who is not in the list. That is a question on which there may be some difference of opinion. My own view is that as far as possible the dignity of the University should be kept up, because Universities have a tendency to disappear before active colleges. That is a matter which will be really the better for sonic discussion hereafter. Professors will be appointed and dismissed by the Senate. Then questions arise as to whether a professor dismissed should not have a right of appeal. I think he should, and accordingly the Bill provides that a professor who has been dismissed by the Senate should have a right to appeal to the visitor. The Crown reserves to itself and its successors the right of being the visitor both of this University in Belfast and of this new University in Dublin, and it will act through a Board of Visitors who will be nominated by the Crown as occasion arises, of course paying some attention to the nature of the dispute 348 to be decided. Professors may be dismissed for a variety of reasons, some disciplinary reasons relating to character and the like, and sometimes it may be, but I hope very seldom, with regard to questions which have given rise to philosophical or religious discussions. The Crown reserves the right to appoint the Board of Visitors on all occasions when its authority is appealed to. Therefore I make it plain in the charter that it is to exercise these visitorial rights through the Board of Visitors who are to have regard to the nature of the dispute. There is one other matter I wish to mention, and that is the appointment of the professors of the new College of Dublin. The professors in the existing colleges of Cork and Galway go on. They hold their positions under tenure from the Crown during good behaviour and nobody wishes to interfere with them in going on and accepting professorships in the new University, and they will remain professors of the University on the old terms. When they die or retire the Senate will appoint their successors under the provisions of the charter. But the new college in Dublin is not in that position and professors will have to be appointed. I have thought this question out very carefully, and I do not think it is desirable that the nominated temporary Senate should have the appointment of the professors in the first instance of the new college, because when you come to study the composition of that new Senate and its professional character, it will be seen that a good many of its members would themselves be eligible for these posts. Therefore I have thought it desirable that these professors should be appointed by the Statutory Commissions which it is proposed to set up under this Bill of which there will be two, one for Belfast and one for Dublin. They will have to sit together for some time as it may be thought joint interests may arise, but otherwise they will be independent Commissions—Commissions of seven, four elected by the Senate and three nominated by the Crown. To these seven gentlemen I propose, in the first instance, to entrust the duty of appointing professors for the new college and, of course, of fixing their salaries. An important question arises as to the President of this new college in Dublin; 349 and I need scarcely say it is a very important subject. The first man who would occur to us is Dr. Delany, whom I have already mentioned and who has for many years devoted himself with great success and with the utmost industry to the education of Catholic youths in University College. But there are objections to that course which he appreciates himself, and he has written to me to say that he feels those objections prevail—he is seventy-six years of age—but his one desire is that this scheme should be a great success and he wishes, before he dies, to see a University in Dublin. There are some objections to starting with a clergyman, and there may be in some minds objection to starting with a Jesuit. I am bound to say that any Chief Secretary who has enjoyed the acquaintance of Dr. Delany will not feel that, but it will be felt in certain quarters, and I do think that until tradition grows up it is rather desirable that the head of this new college should be a layman, in order that the tradition should not spring up that the president has to be a clergy-man. We all know how in our colleges of Oxford and Cambridge a tradition grows up and is preserved. Therefore, while I tender my thanks to Dr. Delany for his patriotism in this matter, I think it would be better that the president of this new college should be a layman—a Catholic layman and a younger man—in order that it should secure a good start under energetic and sympathetic rule. That is all I have to say on that subject. There is a very important subject with regard to all colleges of this kind and that is affiliation. The charter which the House will soon have an opportunity of reading, secures that the University may affiliate, or allow a constituent college to affiliate, an institution which in certain limited subjects is capable of giving University training. I have done my best in order that it may be made as strict as possible so that they shall not be at liberty, even if they desire it, to affiliate with those which cannot honestly be said to be doing University work. Unless you have a severely restricted right of affiliation your University may become a sort of conglomeration of secondary schools, and that is a thing to be avoided. The House may say what about Maynooth 350 and Magee? Those are institutions known to us all. I have very little doubt, though they are not constituent colleges, in the charter of Bill that they will be affiliated by the Senate. With regard to Magee, that is a Presbyterian foundation, it educates both the Presbyterian clergy and the Presbyterian laymen. In its Arts schools it has always had an honourable connection with, and has sent persons every year to graduate at the Royal University, and I think it would interfere with the success of my scheme and would be unjust to the Presbyterian foundation were its rights not preserved. The same with regard to Maynooth, where, as we all know, Roman Catholic, clergy are educated. A University which ignores the clergy of the country starts at a great disadvantage. Maynooth has been very closely connected of late years with the Royal, and it has made it a condition that every person who enters its walls as a student shall have matriculated at the Royal. Its course is a long one of seven years, and the great majority of the students in the first three years take the Arts programme at the Royal and proceed to degrees. It would be a great hardship upon the Maynooth students if we prevented them from taking degrees at the University which takes the place of the Royal to which they have gone hitherto for their degrees. My own belief is that the Senate will affiliate both Magee and Maynooth. Then as to examinations. We shall take care that at the examinations conducted at Cork, Galway, or Dublin the local professors shall in every case be associated with an external teacher who will have a veto in deciding whether the person examined has shown a faculty and capacity for learning and benefiting by the teaching. That, and not the mere number of marks gained, is, I think, the way to get the greatest benefit from University teaching. The scheme will have sufficient safeguards to allow the professors who have actually taught to have an important voice in determining the questions and in judging answers. So that the degree attained at Galway should not be better or worse than that at Cork or Dublin in the estimation of learned men. It is a delicate problem, the difficulties of 351 which arise from this particular federation. I think, if I may say so, there is wisdom in the course I have adopted in limiting the federation as much as possible. I say frankly I would much sooner that Cork and Galway, great and important places, were strong and powerful enough to run Universities of their own—I hope that Cork may yet be. But if it is not the case, we have to adopt limits, and those who have kindly assisted me in this matter have taken the utmost precautions to secure the general standard in the University. My right hon. friend the Secretary for War, who, like myself, is a great enthusiast in this matter, reminds me that I have not called attention to one clause in the Bill. That clause provides that the moneys paid to the governing body of the University or college, as the case may be, shall be used in accordance with their statutes, but no such sum shall be applied for the provision or maintenance of any church, chapel, or any other place of religious observance, or for the provision and maintenance of any theological or religious teaching. I say nothing on that subject. I think it is an object which some do ill to leave out, but at all events, it can be provided for out of other than public money, and I think that is in accordance with the general sentiment of this country. I have only now to refer to the finance of this great undertaking. The present charge upon the Exchequer is £36,500, the present charge on the Irish Church Fund is £20,000; that is the beginning and end of the public charge, so far as it goes. We propose to divide the £20,000 a year between the two new Universities, each of which will have £10,000, and we propose to increase the lump sum of £36,500 to £80,000. That is the provision by way of new endowment, £43,500. Opinions may differ whether that is enough or not; my own belief is that it is adequate for the occasion, that it will be enough if this Bill gets through to make it plain that these two Universities will be successful. That I regard as a sine quanon. I found Ireland in a state of profound scepticism as to whether, notwithstanding all its reports of this House and the eager promises of many of its leading men, the good day would ever come when such proposals could really 352 be carried. I do not think there is much use expecting the want to be supplied by private beneficence or generosity, even in a country which unfortunately is not a great and wealthy community, such as is Liverpool, where the University has already been endowed with enormous sums. That cannot be; still, much can be looked for in Ireland, but not unless and until this House by passing this Bill inaugurates proposals on a scale to make it plain that the thing will succeed. When that has been done, we may confidently expect in Ulster, Belfast, and Dublin considerable endowments, it may be from the pence of the poor or from the investments of the rich, enabling suitable chairs to be properly endowed, and all the branches of learning fully represented in these new Universities. But we have got to do our duty first, and I think the sum I have named by way of endowment is adequate. The proposal which will be found in the schedule is that Belfast will get £10,000 for its University, part of the Irish Church Fund; it will also have £18,000 by way of annual endowment, making in all £28,000 a year. The new college in Dublin, of course, has got first of all to be built, and then endowed and maintained, and the proposal is that out of the moneys which I have suggested £32,000 a year shall endow and maintain the new University in Dublin when it has once been started. Then the income of the Queen's College, Cork, will be increased to £18,000 a year, and the income of Queen's College, Galway, will be increased to £12,000 a year. I think those sums are sufficient to meet the needs of the case. Building grants, of course, become necessary. Belfast has got fine buildings, but they are inadequate for the purpose of the University, and it is proposed that a grant of £60,000 should be made to the new University of Belfast to enable it to celebrate this auspicious occasion, as I trust it may be, and provide itself with the sizings and appearances of a University worthy of the distinguished province to which it belongs. I am told that a maximum sum for the purpose of the University and college in Dublin should be £150,000. That will not be sufficient to build on any scale a residential college; I think hostels and institutions of that sort will have to be 353 left to private enterprise and generosity. But it will, I hope, be sufficient first of all to complete the present University buildings, which will be utilised, many of them, for college purposes. At present, for the greater part of the year the laboratories and the like stand empty, and those can be thrown in as college property, for college purposes. The college will have to be built representing all the dignity and social life of a college; a library, gymnasium, and reading-rooms may be necessary, and, of course, lecture-rooms, and a residence, it may be, for the principal.
§ MR. BIRRELL
I hope a cricket ground, which is, no doubt, an essential. I recognise that cricket is a faculty by itself. Then, Cork and Galway will receive very considerable sums also for the purpose of their buildings. I think the financial proposals will be found sufficient. I said I would not introduce any party aspect. I put before Unionists and Nationalists alike first the obligation of government, in which all of us, whatever our opinions may be, may be proud to take a share. I believe that the objections of Belfast to a University have largely disappeared during the last five or six years. Speaking from knowledge gained chiefly from academic sources, I can only say that there is the utmost enthusiasm in Queen's College, Belfast, for this new scheme. I believe the province is quite large enough to maintain a University, and the value of her degrees, and I am only sorry that Lord Kelvin did not live to become the first Chancellor of a University which, I hope, is destined to be great. As for religion, all I can say is that these new Universities start precisely on the same grounds. They are not denominational institutions, they are not marred and disfigured by tests of any sort or kind. The most anybody can say is that we are planting one University on what, I suppose, may be called Protestant soil, although there are many Roman Catholics in Ulster, and the other on what may be called Roman Cotholic soil, although there are many Protestants in Dublin and Cork, and some even in Galway. 354 These Universities, as they grow, thrive, and develop, may, I dare say, develop some differences of tone and temper and disposition, but I believe the temple of learning is wide enough for both, and that there is room enough in Ireland to provide for Catholics and Protestants, and all eager and quick to learn, not merely in the arts, but in the exacter sciences, in mathematics, and engineering. If I have the good fortune to succeed where far greater men have failed, it will only be due to the fact that I have sought counsel on all sides, and have had no personal feeling in this matter. There is no originality about this scheme—anybody who likes may claim it as his own; but if we are all united in support of it we shall have done a great work for Ireland, and future generations may rise up and thank us.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make further provision with respect to University Education in Ireland."—(Mr. Birrell)
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London)
The right hon. Gentleman has dealt at length with a subject on which there is not only a great division in this House—that may perhaps be said of almost all subjects frequently before us—but on which there is a great division not merely between Parties. He has dealt with it in a manner and spirit which, I think, has been agreeable to everybody—to those who agree with and those who differ from him. I am one of those who agree with him, but I think I may speak even for those who do not when I say that no single word has fallen from him which can offend any susceptibilities. The right hon. Gentleman gave, as was proper, a brief preliminary historical statement leading up to his proposals. He gave us some account of the history of this question as it affects the Government of which he is a Member. I confess his explanations on that point have left me as puzzled as I was before. He told us that the late Chief Secretary had spoken with the authority of the Cabinet, not only when he announced an entirely different scheme, but when he announced that that scheme was the only one which 355 Ireland could ever expect from the present Administration. I am glad to say that different counsels have prevailed, but how the Cabinet can ever have authorised so sweeping and so unfortunate a statement from one of their Members I cannot imagine, nor do I know by what process the Cabinet have been converted to what I certainly think myself the far more reasonable and rational proposals which the right hon. Gentleman has now laid before us. The right hon. Gentleman told us that the only object which induced him to leave the Education Office and take up the difficult post of Chief Secretary was the hope of being able to settle this University question. I was touched by that statement. It also somewhat surprised me. It seemed to me there was rather a violent change between bringing in a Bill which was intended to destroy the denominational atmosphere in places of education in this country, and going across the Channel for the sole purpose of establishing a great academic institution in which religious belief and a denominational atmosphere were to prevail in the future. I do not know if the right hon. Gentleman could introduce into his measure for England the same broad recognition of facts which he has shown in his treatment of this Irish question. If he could I think we should be near a settlement of a subject which is almost as difficult of final solution, and leads to almost as embittered controversies on this side of the St. George's Channel, as the question of the University has done, or is likely to do, on the other side. I pass from the history which the right hon. Gentleman gave in his statement of Irish University education since it was begun in Ireland. It has not been on the whole a successful history, though much has been done; and I am glad to think, speaking as a Conservative and as a Unionist, that everything that has been done so far has been done by the Party of which I am a member. All the Bills mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman, without exception, have been passed into law as Conservative and Unionist measures. I hope that on this occasion the right hon. Gentleman will share with us and be able to claim for his Party at least an equal meed of praise from those who desire to academic education for Ireland put in the position in which certainly it ought to 356 be, and in which it is not at the present time. Of the plan itself I have very little to say. I quite agree that it is impossible for any Member of this House, who takes the trouble to examine into the existing state of higher education in Ireland, to be content to leave to an examining University the great charge of dealing with higher education for the larger part of the population. That is an intolerable situation. The right hon. Gentleman gave us a quotation from Melancthon containing a great eulogy of examinations, but, if I may venture to differ from such great authorities, I should like to express emphatically my dissent. I do not believe, as the right hon. Gentleman does, in the system of competitive examinations under which, I believe, the best interests of academic learning are now oppressed and smothered; nor do I personally believe that Melancthon would have supported this system of examinations. I have not looked into the question of German University education in the 16th century, but I rather suspect that what Molanethon referred to were the sort of controversies which are allowed to go on in this House between gentlemen on opposite sides, on which perhaps a more impartial and more learned jury had to pronounce, but which were actually very much in the nature of debates and not at all in the nature of these competitive examinations which have been invented for the perplexity of students and are not, in my opinion, in the best interests of academic training. However that may be, we all agree, whether we believe with the right hon. Gentleman and Melancthon or not as to examinations, or whether we believe in vain and tumultuary reading, which is my position—we are all of one mind in thinking that the teaching University is the only real way of carrying out the higher training of those who have entered into adult life and are just about to deal with the business of their profession or the business of promoting learning and research. Holding that view, I do not believe that, speaking broadly, a better plan could be devised—I am talking only of its main outline—than that which has been propounded to us by the Government. The scheme of Mr. Bryce included Trinity College, Dublin, within its purview. That would have been resented as an intolerable wrong by Trinity College itself and 357 would, I believe, have roused antagonism in every University body throughout England and Scotland. The Government have been certainly well advised in leaving that great institution which has done, is doing, and will do in the future so much for Ireland, to carry out the traditions which it has created, and which from day to day is proving itself worthy to administer the funds which in the past, and certainly in the present, are being used in the very best interests of the higher education of the country. Trinity College is safe, and is not touched by this Bill; I think that alone shows the great superiority of the measure which the right hon. Gentleman has I proposed over the abortive suggestions that were made two years ago. The only point of doubt I should have about the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman, so far as I have been able to gather its import from the statements he has made, is as to whether he is right in altogether excluding the Crown from all appointments to the professorships. As I understand his plan, the country has to provide practically all the funds of the two institutions, and yet the whole of the appointments is to be left to the Senatus. I believe that would be perfectly right with regard to the majority of the appointments. But I have had some experience in this matter of selecting professors, and I am inclined to think the responsibility of the Crown in the matter is very often advantageously exercised. It is only by appointments through the Crown that you can be sure of not being unduly influenced by academic surroundings. The Senatus is almost certain to select the best men for the University if the charge is confined to members of the University, and I do not think there would be any partiality, while I am sure they would be judges of merit. But it is not certain always that the Senatus would be willing and anxious to go outside the limits of its own members. The Scottish Universities do constantly appoint professors who are not of the alumni of the Universities at which they are asked to lecture. My hon. friend the Member for the University of Cambridge, to whom the right hon. Gentleman made an eloquent, and I think, most deserved reference, has himself, I think, taught in at least two Universities besides the one which had the honour of giving him his education. Nevertheless, I am not quite 358 sure—I put it rather tentatively—whether the right hon. Gentleman is wise, in the interests of academic learning, to hand over the whole of the University patronage to the Senatus of the institutions which he is about to create. That is not an opinion which is very commonly shared in the House. It may be an idiosyncrasy of my own; at all events I do not wish unduly to press it. That is the only criticism which I have to pass this evening on the scheme. I am not quite sure whether I quite understand the relation of the two new universities with Maynooth. It is most desirable, I agree with the right hon. Gentleman, that the clergy of any country should come into some kind of contact with their fellows, and should have an education in matters outside the relatively narrow range of theological subjects. But I do not gather that those who are ultimately to go through a theological course at Maynooth are to be in any sense resident, or to have the advantage, as I think, of admixture with laymen of their own age in the period of their going through their arts course. That may perhaps be inconsistent with the views of those who have to regulate such matters in Ireland. If so I regret it. I personally believe that the clergy of all denominations, without exception, would be batter calculated to carry out their great work in later life if some part of their academic career at all events were passed in that general atmosphere of fellowship with their equals in age and allies in studies—an admixture which, so far as laymen are concerned, all who had been at Universities will admit is perhaps the most valuable gift the Universities can give to those who are educated within their walls—far better and more important than all the examinations of which the right hon. Gentleman or Melancthon has dreamt of. But, after all, when we touch this question of the education of the clergy in the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant who deals with it touches upon matters on which be is little qualified to assert the opinion of those who differ from him in matters of religion. I do not desire to press unduly that point. Literally, I have no other commentary, I will not say of a hostile or even of a critical character, to pass upon the plan. It seems to me an absolutely sincere effort to solve a great difficulty. I do not 359 believe that any of his predecessors in office could have proposed so good a plan with a chance of its being accepted—by which I mean that I think the opinion, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, in Ireland has greatly modified, matured, and developed since this question first came to the front about twenty years ago, and I do not believe that any of the right hon. Gentleman's predecessors in that period would have had the smallest chance of receiving the adhesion of, perhaps, Gentlemen below the gangway, but certainly of many in Ireland whom they represent, bad they produced this scheme in other Parliaments. I am glad to think that at all events the opinion of the Roman Catholic majority of Ireland is modified in the direction of what I call a sound academic tradition, and I hope and think there has been some corresponding movement on the part of Protestants also. It is well known that do not wholly agree with some of my best friends from Ireland behind me; they do not take the same view as I do on this question. However that may be, it must be plain to everyone acquainted with the matter that the general scheme which the right hon. Gentleman has turned out provides for Ireland academic institutions in the best sense of the word, institutions which ought to have and which I think will have the power of gradually building up a tradition of sound learning, unpolluted and unperverted by religious prejudice or bigotry on either side, having for their object the advancement of sound learning and the education of the rising youth of the country. If this Bill does, as I hope it will, become part of the law of the land we shall be able to look to Ireland as one can now look to Scotland and England as a country in which we have not allowed the highest, best, and most important of all national interests—education in its most important aspect, namely, higher education—to lag behind the example which has been set us by other nations on both sides of the Atlantic—an example which we have too long lagged behind, but which we now seem in a fair way to imitate, I hope to better, by giving our own special touch to this particular aspect of education and making it not merely as complete as any which the German, French, or American citizen now enjoys, but even yet more admirably fitted, more closely suited to the special 360 needs and special character of our own country.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E)
I am sure I am only giving expression to what is felt in every section of the House when I congratulate the Chief Secretary for Ireland on his courage in tackling this great problem at all. He has embarked upon this most dangerous voyage under peculiarly favourable auspices and, speaking for myself—and I know I am speaking the sentiments of my colleagues also—I tender my thanks to the Leader of the Opposition for the cordial and graceful speech which he has just delivered, in which he has given that consistent support which he has always given to what I agree with him in describing is, after freedom, the highest of all Irish interests. And there are two other names which I think ought to be mentioned by way of thanks, because it is a rare pleasure to an Irish Nationalist, either in this House or out of it, to be able to thank his political opponents. I desire to express my own personal deep gratification, and that of my colleagues, to the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge, who has accepted a seat upon the Senate of this new University, and who is willing to offer us in the great task before us his valuable services in keeping up the standard of education. And I think it would be ungracious on our part not to add a word of thanks to the Provost of Trinity College, who has assisted the right hon. Gentleman; he has set a high example of fair play and courage in this matter, and has promised his steady support to this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman will need all the support he can get, and yet I must say that after the proceedings that have taken place I am full of hope. The right hon. Gentleman required courage to embark upon this voyage. The Leader of the Opposition spoke of the history of Irish education as not a very successful one. I think he might have used stronger and more emphatic language, and said that it had been disastrous. The whole of that path has been strewn with wrecks. Sir Robert Peel in 1843 started the Queen's Colleges; then came the attempts of Lord Derby and Disraeli in 1866 and 1868; then Mr. Gladstone in 1873, with his great measure which brought his 361 Government to destruction; then pledges of Lord St. Aldwyn in 1885; then the pledge of the present Leader of the Opposition in 1889 and his famous Manchester letter in 1897; then the Robertson Commission in 1900 and its Report in 1903; and then the Bryce Commission of 1906. Yet throughout the whole of that period of sixty years, nothing substantial has been done to remedy the grievances of Ireland in this matter of University education. I have made a careful study of these things, and I believe the failure was mainly due to the fact that the problem has always been approached upon wrong lines. It is entirely unnecessary for any man to argue as to the desperate necessity for some remedy being applied and applied promptly. But there is this one most significant and striking fact which I think might impress anyone who is disposed to throw obstacles in the way of the right hon. Gentleman, viz., that throughout these sixty years there has not been one single British Member who has taken part in the government of Ireland, but has been converted at an early stage to the conviction of the crying necessity for a remedy being applied to the grievance in the matter of Catholic education. I will only make one quotation from Mr. Gladstone. In 1873, when introducing his measure, he said—There are those who maintain that upon the whole, considering who Roman Catholics are, considering how little property they possess, how little it is possible for them to enter upon the higher culture, their state so far as University education is concerned is not very bad at the present. I hold on the contrary that it is miserably bad. I go further and I would almost say it is scandalously bad.That was thirty-five years ago, and since that time nothing has been done. The only measure passed since then on the question of Irish University education has been that which resulted in the foundation of the Royal University, and the foundation of the Royal University was, I might say, a double-edged sword. I would be the last to deny that the Royal University did something for higher education in Ireland. It stimulated the ambition of some scholars, and afforded some of our poor people on opportunity of studying abroad which they would not otherwise have had, and in that way it did great good. But it was very much a case of supplying un- 362 wholesome food to a hungry man, for the food was unwholesome. The Robertson Commission, commenting, on the action of the Royal University, used these remarkable words. The Report of the Commission, although it produced no result, was one of the greatest collections of opinion on this subject and on the whole question, and I entirely agree with the Light hon. Gentleman that whoever drafted the Report was certainly a master of the art of exposition. What did it say?—But while those who have administered the Royal University system have done their utmost to make it work well, and successfully, and smoothly, the system itself suffers from incurable defects. A false conception of learning was held up before the eyes of the students of Ireland, and apart from internal defects of organisation the Royal university has brought about one result which was doubtless unforeseen by its founders. It has seriously impaired the value of the University education which was in existence previous to this foundation. On this side its influence has been one of positive destruction.That is absolutely true. While the Royal University has in some respects opened the paths of learning to some of our poor Catholic countrymen, it has also degraded in another respect the whole standard of University learning in Ireland, and has done as much harm as—some think even more than—it has done good. It is also true to say that from the day the Queen's Colleges were admitted to be a failure, for the last half-century, Ireland, which of all countries in Europe, owing to the peculiarities of its circumstances and its great lack of what I might call the raw material, requires more than any country to cultivate the intellect of its people, has been absolutely neglected by the Government in the matter of University education. The natural question that must arise is, after all the misrepresentation to which this whole question has been subjected for years,—Is this a scheme which the Catholics of Ireland will accept? In considering this great scheme, I wish at the outset to draw a distinction between principle and detail. It is an all-important distinction. The real question for us to consider at this stage is,—Has the right hon. Gentleman succeeded in drafting a scheme which will at the same time have an easy passage so far as the vested interests in Ireland are concerned, and meet the needs and satisfy the demands of the Catholics 363 of Ireland? Therefore I put aside all details so far as this stage of the Bill is concerned, only saying one sentence as regards finance. That, of course, is a very important detail. I am bound to say it appears to me that the provision for the Dublin College is less than moderate in view of the great competition which it has to face in Trinity College. I earnestly press on the right hon. Gentleman that the grant which he mentioned is entirely insufficient. The providing of some residential college in Dublin as a nucleus for academic life in that city is a matter of vital importance, and it is all the more vitally important because, as hon. Members opposite know, Trinity College has a munificent establishment and noble buildings, which I for one do not in the slightest degree grudge so long as Trinity College will help us to get fair play and equal treatment. The Robertson Commission specifically says—if you decide to do this the new college in Dublin should be on the scale regarded by a University college of the first class, and which is intended to draw students from all parts of Ireland. If you are not going to endow it handsomely and in proportion to Trinity College you had better not do this thing at all.I now come to the principle of this Bill, I say, first of all, that anybody who studies the debate on the Bill of 1883 will find that the scheme now presented to the House is free from all the great objections taken to Mr. Gladstone's scheme in that discussion which ended in the defeat of the Government. It was alleged in the first place that it was grossly unfair to the Catholics to leave them a single college without a penny endowment to compete against three richly endowed non-Catholic colleges; secondly, that it substituted for the healthy rivalry of more than one, a single University partaking in some degree of an examining board; thirdly, that this sole educational University was subject to restrictions of a most degrading character which would have made it a laughing stock of all the learning of Europe; fourthly, that Mr. Gladstone's scheme proposed to interfere with powerful institutions in Ireland against the will of those interested in them; and fifthly, that the University was to be subject to the headship of the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, making it more or less of a political institution. I do not know of 364 any subject upon which opinion is more unanimous and strong in Ireland than on the question of "hands off" this matter as far as the Crown is concerned. One of the main causes of the prosperity of Trinity College has been the fact that the Castle and the Government have no power of interference whatever. What are the characteristics of the new University which the Chief Secretary proposes to set up in the City of Dublin? It is to be free and self-governing. I do not in the least degree quarrel with the provision the right hon. Gentleman announced in regard to the nomination by the Crown for a limited number of years, because in the ultimate form the University is to be absolutely free and self-governing. There is to be absolute freedom of teaching. We have been continually subjected to cruel calumny in this House by the accusation that we were seeking to establish in Ireland an institution in which there would be no freedom of teaching, and we have been told over and over again in this House and publicly and privately in the library and the smoking-rooms of this House that the difficulty some hon. Members experienced upon this question was that they could not give one penny of public money to encourage the foundation of higher learning where the teaching would be under the control of bishops and priests. I claim that the teaching in the proposed University will be as free as in any University in Europe. Modern history and modern philosophy will not be excluded subjects as under Mr. Gladstone's scheme of 1883. There will be no exclusions, and I entirely agree that it is a maimed University that excludes theology. We shall have a great faculty of theology in connection with our University, but we shall pay for it out of our own pockets, and we willingly accept the clause which prevents our spending one farthing upon religious teaching. There will be no excluded subjects. There is to be no attempt in this University scheme to interfere with the vested interests of any other great institutions, and, while it is not proposed to allocate a shilling of public money to any denominational purpose, the principle at least is recognised that something should be done and some step taken towards establishing an equality between all sections of the population in Ireland in the matter of 365 endowment. The first question which the House is entitled to ask and which calls for an answer is, will a University founded on the principles set forth in the statement of the Chief Secretary be accepted by the Catholics of Ireland? I have no hesitation in saying "Yes" to that question. It will be accepted by the Catholics. There has in the past been a great deal of misconception and misrepresentation in discussing this question. Two things have always been assumed in the debates, public and private, that have taken place on University education for Ireland. First of all, it has been held that the demand put forward on behalf of Irish Catholics for University education in Ireland was purely a clerical demand; and, secondly, that in the matter of University education nothing would satisfy the Irish Catholics except a University strictly confined to Catholics and absolutely controlled by the prelates of their Church. To both these assumptions I give a most absolute and unqualified denial. This demand is not only not a clerical demand, but it is a demand passionately made by all thoughtful men in Ireland and even by many who do not share our faith. I challenge all hon. Members in this House, and particularly Nonconformist friends, to examine critically the scheme now put forward and point, if they can, to any one particular in which it is more clerical or less free than either Trinity College or the late Queen's University. On what ground can opposition be raised? Can such a proposal be objected to in a country where three-fourths of the population are Catholic, where the Protestants have already taken possession of Trinity College, and where there is a great flourishing Presbyterian institution in the North? The really important matter is that the thing will be free and there will be no tests and it will truthfully represent the feelings and beliefs of the students. I invite all who take an interest in this matter to scrutinise this Bill and view the institution from this point of view. We have been so continually taunted and misrepresented in this matter that I may be pardoned for dwelling upon it. I challenge anyone to point to one particular in which this proposed University and the charter are more clerical or less free than any other institution for higher education in this country or in Ireland. 366 I will go further. Are hon. Members who have offered us over and over again Trinity College in full settlement of our demand aware that for 100 years no Protestant layman was allowed to be Provost? Are they aware that since the Queen's College, Belfast, was founded no layman has been Provost? Yet our college is to be started under the presidency of a layman. When I talk about freedom I am one of those who have deeply and firmly believed that true religion has no fear of the pursuit of truth, and furthermore I have believed that that religion which is afraid of the untrammelled and free pursuit of truth is doomed. This University is to be perfectly free, and the professors are not to be called upon to sign any undertaking. There is really a lot of unconscious hypocrisy in this House and in the country. I myself was a teacher in the old Catholic University which is going to be incorporated in this, and I was never asked to sign anything. But there is a discipline set up and maintained by this House in the Queen's University, which has been held up as a free institution and as a sample of free teaching. What have the professors of that college to do? The moment a man is appointed a professor of Queen's College he has to sign this—I, A. B., do hereby promise that in lecturing and examining and in the performance of all other duties connected with my Chair, I will carefully abstain from teaching or advancing any doctrine, or making any statement derogatory to the truths of revealed religion or injurious or disrespectful to the religious convictions of any portion of my class or audience.Who is to be judge? And that is your Government system of free teaching! The professors have to go beyond that, because they have to say—I, moreover, promise to the President and Council that I will not introduce or discuss in my place or capacity as professor any subject of controversy, political or religious, tending to produce contention or excitement.That is freedom. We will not degrade the professors in our Universities by requiring them to enter into any such matter. We trust the truth of our religion. Speaking as an Irish Catholic I am quite content to go even far beyond that in my desire to protect the freedom of our professors, and to give to those who may be dismissed an 367 appeal to the Crown. It is manifest that a professor must be subject to dismissal. He may be guilty of scandalous conduct, and therefore there must be power to dismiss a professor. That power will reside in the Senate, but in order to remove all feeling of doubt I will be quite willing to agree that, as against any arbitrary exercise of that power, the professor should have an appeal as set forth in the Act to a Board of Visitors appointed by the Crown. It will satisfy the Catholics of Ireland, and by reasonable endowment and fair and generous treatment such as is recommended by the Robertson Commission, I venture to think that the right hon. Gentleman may, although his time in Ireland has been rather a stormy one, feel that he has done a great work. The right hon. Gentleman said that if he could succeed it would be an ample recompense to him for having crossed the Irish Sea. I understand that that passage is not a pleasant operation, but I ask him to be of good courage. If he succeeds in doing for Ireland in this matter what Mr. Gladstone failed to do thirty-five years ago, then his name will be honourably associated with the country. I listened with sympathy to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition, because, in this matter we share one view. While the greatest interest a country has is education, by far the greatest education interest of a country is higher education. Many say that all depends on primary education. That is a false idea. The foundation of all education is higher education; the real foundation and beginning, whether it be in history or philosophy, is the higher education of the people, and that is the reason why all education in Ireland to-day is in such an unsatisfactory state. As regards the great mass of the people, they have been left without any facility for securing higher education. They are passionately devoted to it, and I assure the House that in dealing with this matter you are not dealing with the interests of the rich but with the interests of the poor If you throw open to them the door to the higher culture, they will avail themselves of it to the infinite and incalculable benefit of the nation.
§ MR. MOORE (Armagh, N.)
said that the speech of the Chief Secretary in introducing the Bill could scarcely have been better conceived, and certainly the measure could not have been brought forward with less offence to those who differed from the principles which it contained. In making the remarks which he should feel called upon to make he might run counter to the feelings of hon. Members below the gangway, and while he would not shrink from doing so he would try to give as little offence as the hon. Member for East Mayo had given to Unionist Members from Ulster. The Leader of the Opposition had said that the scheme sketched by the Chief Secretary was, so far as he could see, the best of all possible schemes for dealing with the problem of University education in Ireland. He concurred in that once it was admitted—and it appeared to be admitted from the speech of the hon. Member for East Mayo and from the other speeches to which they had listened—that they were going to settle the question of higher education in Ireland on grounds of denominational endowment. It was because he and his colleagues were returned from a part of the country in which feeling was very strongly against denominational endowment of any religion that they felt it their duty, now that it was made clear that the scheme involved the endowment of denominational education as a solution of the University question, to say that in accordance with their pledges to their constituents they would oppose it at every step. Every objection he took to the endowment and establishment of a denominational University from which his Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen would derive advantage applied with equal force to the proposed endowment of a Presbyterian University in Belfast, because in common fair play and justice they could not assent to that while objecting to Roman Catholics receiving an endowment. He wished to draw the attention of the House to the somewhat extraordinary history of the last twelve months which had led to the introduction of this Bill, because he wished to prove then in bringing forward this Bill the Chief Secretary had acquiesced in the demand 369 put forward by the Roman Catholic hierarchy. He did not question their right or their conscientiousness. It was the Roman Catholic Bishops who occasioned the impasse and killed the usefulness of the Queen's Colleges. The Roman Catholic Bishops were the guardians of the faith and morals of their own flocks, and it was their action which had caused the difficulty for which the Chief Secretary was now proposing a, solution. If the proposals were accepted by hon. Members below the gangway it was because they were satisfactory to the Roman Catholic hierarchy. The Roman Catholic hierarchy had put forward their demand before Commission after Commission, and there was very little doubt as to where the real kernel of the matter lay. They were going to have set up in Dublin denominational education which pleased the Roman Catholic hierarchy. The Protestant leaders in Belfast had never made any request for a denominational college in that city, and the gift which had been thrown at their heads was absolutely gratuitous. It was to balance the University in Dublin which was granted to comply with the Roman Catholic demand. The question of the endowment of a Presbyterian University had been brought up in the General Assembly in Belfast. That was a democratic assembly consisting of ministers and laity, and he defied anyone to say that, outside of the professional interest, the Presbyterian Church had ever put forward a claim for the endowment of a University in Belfast, and yet they were to have there a denominational University of a soft to which it was appropriate to affiliate Magee College in the city of Londonderry. It was transparent that that was a mere makeweight to give the semblance of equality and to enable the Government to satisfy the demand of the Roman Catholic bishops. He wished to call attention to the circumstances which had preceded the introduction of this Bill. There was the scheme of Mr. Bryce introduced to the public with what was really an ultimatum. The right hon. Gentleman said—I can hold out no hope that any other will be proposed by the present Government. It represents our convictions.370 The Chief Secretary entertained those convictions, for in April last he was asked if Mr. Bryce's scheme still held the field, and he replied that there was not a word of truth in the statement that the Government had abandoned the proposed legislation on the University question. In July he said that Mr. Bryce's scheme had achieved the satisfactory result of bringing about greater agreement and consensus of opinion in Ireland than any other scheme that had yet been produced. The present Bill was denominational from start to finish. From the moment of its inception the scheme had been brought about with the acquiescence of the Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland. Ireland, in spite of the pacific rule of the Chief Secretary, was in a very disturbed state last autumn. The right hon. Gentleman minimised the outrage in the House of Commons, although he admitted it in the country. At Southampton he spoke of the legislative benefits he had in store for Ireland (he alluded, of course, to University education), and he said publicly, and practically gave notice, that if that system of outrage were permitted to continue it would be impossible to induce the House of Commons to grant any of those legislative benefits. Almost immediately afterwards the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Tuam denounced cattle-driving as immoral and ordered it to cease; and in some dioceses in the West the same course was taken. This University Bill was part of the price, and the right hon. Gentleman was bringing it in to fulfil the promise of legislative benefits to various people for putting down cattle-driving. [An HON. MEMBER on the MINISTERIAL Benches: What about the Leader of the Opposition?] It was true that the Leader of the Opposition had always supported a Roman Catholic University and favoured this Bill, but the right hon. Gentleman had said that his opinions on it were personal, and that other Members could vote according to their own convictions. That was what he was going to do. The arrangement between the Roman Catholic bishops and the action of the Chief Secretary in introducing the Bill were very significant facts. The probable cause was that Trinity College had been left out of the Bill. 371 In the Bill and the Charter it would be found that Trinity College was not mentioned. The Provost of Trinity College was an old friend of his, for he was his tutor at college; and no doubt he considered that so long as Trinity College was untouched, denominational education might be set up in Dublin. It was a regrettable thing that the force and weight of Trinity College should be used to assist what he believed to be a retrograde measure. He believed that Trinity College was short-sighted, because it was in Ireland the national University and held out inducements to men of all religious creeds. If the Bill passed, undoubtedly Presbyterian students in Ireland would go to the Presbyterian University in Belfast, and Roman Catholic students in the same way would go to the new college in Dublin. Thus Trinity College from being the national University would be degraded to a mere sectarian University. Although the students who would attend it would be fellow-members of his own Church, he maintained that it would have been to their interest to have thrown in their lot with those who objected to sectarian education rather than have submitted to a Bill the effect of which would be to turn Trinity College into a mere Church of Ireland secular training college. He regretted it, but the Chief Secretary was able to boast of the help of some of the senior fellows of Trinity College; and he had paid the price for it. The whole inducement of Mr. Bryce's Bill was that Nationalists and the Radical section of the Presbyterians would get a chance of destroying Trinity College.
§ MR. DILLON
So far as I am personally concerned, I have always been in favour of this scheme and opposed to the other.
§ MR. MOORE
said he had a very keen recollection of a speech of over an hour's length delivered in the House, by the hon. Member for East Mayo, in which he used language of malevolence, or, if that was not a Parliamentary phrase, of bitter and extreme denunciation towards Trinity College. Trinity College was denounced as the narrow, bigoted, political fortress of ascendency, and no words to be found 372 in the hon. Member's unlimited vocabulary were too bad to describe his hatred of Trinity College. Therefore, that lament over, Mr. Bryce's Bill could not have fallen on deaf ears in the Roman Catholic party, and in a section of the Radical Presbyterians in the North of Ireland. That was the genesis of the present Bill. The Chief Secretary had an interview with Cardinal Logne, at which his University proposals were discussed. Far be it from him to suggest that it was not perfectly right for the right hon. Gentleman to see Cardinal Logne, but it was perfectly evident from the date of that visit that his proposals had the sanction of the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. What had happened since? Hon. Members below the gangway had submitted to having their national aspirations deadened. They were met with unsatisfactory speeches from the Front Treasury Bench. The Chief Secretary uttered his non possumus and hon. Gentlemen below the gangway, knowing that the Roman Catholic bishops were waiting for this Bill, said nothing. [An HON. MEMBER on the OPPOSITION Benches: Muzzled] Yes; after the debate in the House they were muzzled; but while the muzzle did not prevent them from barking, it did prevent them from biting. If it had not been for the University Bill on which the Roman Catholic bishops had set their hearts, there would have been eighty-two Ishmaelites out that day on a tomahawking expedition. He did not know whether the Ishmaelites had tomahawks or not; but he might be allowed to substitute the mediaeval equivalent. It was undoubted that the Roman Catholic bishops had wade that demand, and the present effort of the right hon. Gentleman was to meet it. Although that had been studiously omitted from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the previous day, nor had any hint of this proposal been given yet it was suggested that this solution of the University problem was satisfactory to the Roman Catholic bishops, while it was said at the same time that it was not a denominational system. The two things were an impossibility. He would remind the right hon. Gentleman and the Liberal Party that they had boasted again and again 373 in this Parliament that they were the largest Nonconformist majority in the House of Commons since the days of Cromwell. They boasted that they were the true Protestant party; but he would like to furnish them with a quotation from Mr. Gladstone, in a letter to the late Queen in 1873, on his Irish University Bill—It is not in the power or will of Her Majesty's advisers to purchase Irish support by subserviency to the Irish Bishops.That was the Gladstonian position in 1873; it was entirely different from the policy of the Radical front bench in 1908. As to the definite proposals in the Bill, the House would recollect—it had been borne in upon them by the Estimates—that there was this year an increase on the Irish expenditure already, without any question of education, of £85,000. They were told that there was no money forthcoming for land purchase in Ireland. They were told on another occasion that the land question was the biggest in Ireland. They had been told that the Treasury for Irish purposes was depleted, that there were no financial means to stop the mouths of the Irish Members. But it was now proposed to increase the financial expenditure on Ireland by £43,000 a year. Before the House agreed to burden the already overburdened Estimates, they ought to see what sort of body it was going to pay for, and what were its principles. If on examination it was found that it was denominationalism, pure and simple, which was going to be established, they ought to reject the proposals of the Bill. The hon. Member for East Mayo took great satisfaction in looking forward to the time when the Universities in the near future would be free. He understood perfectly what the hon. Member meant by free. He meant free from outside, free from the control of the Government. At present the professors in the Queen's College were appointed by the Government, and the hon. Member looked forward to the time when those colleges would appoint and dismiss, subject to the right of appeal, their own professorial staff and conduct their own arrangements. The moment they made a college or a University free from outside control, and free from a government which cared nothing for any party, they would enable 374 them to hang round the neck of their students the fetters of denominationalism. Opposed as he was to the endowment of any denominationalism, he would look forward with regret to a college in Belfast in which all the professors and students were Presbyterians, and where everything was to be done under a Presbyterian colour, and he would look forward with regret to the time when there would be no power of interference with them to prevent their system becoming denominational. The same remark applied with equal force to the new University in Dublin. He did not know what the safeguards would be. The safeguards to which the hon. Member for East Mayo looked forward were that there would be a majority of the laity on the governing body and no tests, and the Chief Secretary laid great stress on the terms of the Bill which provided that there should be no tests, but everybody knew that they might have a University as denominational as they chose to make it without any test at all. If he had the power to make a governing body to-morrow he could take twenty-eight clergymen of the hon. Gentleman's Church, his own Church, or the Presbyterian Church, and the result would be to make as denominational a college or University as any man could wish for, and not a word about it in the charter. But the security was supposed to be afforded by a lay majority. He did not know whether that position was ever dealt with or summed up better than by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose in a debate in the year 1898. The right hon. Gentleman said—The Bishops as I understand, agree that there is to be a preponderance of laymen on the governing body, but they are to be of the Roman Catholic faith.That would be the governing body under the Chief Secretary's proposals. It was not suggested that there was to be allowed a Protestant majority in the new college at Dublin, or a Presbyterian majority in the new University at Belfast.
§ MR. MOORE
said that during the first five years students would come in under 375 the auspices of the first people, and it was during the first five years that the people come in who were to elect their successors. Was there any doubt what the result would be in a University established on those lines? The Secretary of India went on to say—I confess I am not satisfied that this preponderance of laymen over ecclesiastics would be a very solid guarantee, because in more churches than the Roman Catholic there is a species of persons known as the clerically-minded layman,' so I am not satisfied that a provision for the preponderance of laymen would be any adequate guarantee.He thought the right hon. Gentleman was perfectly right, and from start to finish he had never heard from the Chief Secretary, or the hon. Member for East Mayo, anything which would prevent these colleges becoming denominational in every sense of the word.
§ MR. DILLON
inquired whether it would not be perfectly fair to the Secretary for India if the hon. Gentleman would go on and read that he said he would accept this proposal as a guarantee because it was a self-governing body?
§ MR. MOORE
said he had not seen that, but if the hon. Member said it was so he would accept his statement. The Chief Secretary was setting up a college or University for Roman Catholics, and he had taken advantage of a play upon words to say that it was not a Roman Catholic University. If it was a Roman Catholic University, as soon as that appeared to hon. Gentlemen opposite their pledges would compel them to vote against it. Here was a college, of which the governing body and the students were all Roman Catholics, and they had power to elect. Was there any doubt that it would become a Roman Catholic University? That question was never dealt with better than by a distinguished jurist who had been quoted with approval by the Chief Secretary and complimented by the hon. Member for East Mayo. That was Lord Robertson, who said—Our Report makes it clear that a college for Roman Catholics or a University for Roman Catholics must be a Roman Catholic institution, with limitations of thought corresponding to the requirements of the authoritative exponents of that creed.376 In this House the very first time the President of the Board of Trade differed from hon. Members below the gangway was on the University question, and he tore to shreds the pretence that a University for Roman Catholics was not a Roman Catholic University. He said that he thought it was possible to overcome certain difficulties in the way of education in Ireland without setting up a Catholic University. There ought not to be any difficulty at all in setting up a University into which the poor boy could enter, and in which the Roman Catholic creed could be put on an equality with every other creed, but the right hon Gentleman said there must be something more than that behind the demands of Irish Members, and that the real object must be to set up a University, Catholic in tone, Catholic in atmosphere, in a word, a Catholic University. The President of the Board of Trade could not make any distinction between that and a Roman Catholic University, and said that the Nonconformists would oppose the constitution of such an institution, no matter from what side of the House it came. Those were the opinions of the President of the Board of Trade in 1898 and it would be a matter of interest to the House before the Bill reached its final stage to see if the right hon. Gentleman was now prepared, as the Chief Secretary was, to distinguish between a University for Roman Catholics and a Roman Catholic University. He had described the Bill as produced in reply to the demands of the Roman Catholic Bishops, and he would very briefly summarise to the House what those demands were. In 1864 Pope Pius the Ninth issued to the World his "Syllabus, of Errors," and he started in the first place with, as the primary error, education not subject to clerical control. Again and again, moreover, the Roman Catholic Church had denounced mixed education grants. In 1871 the Bishops passed a series of Resolutions, one of which ran—In union with the Holy See and the Bishops; of the Catholic world, we again renew our oft-repeated condemnation of mixed education as intrinsically and grievously dangerous to faith and morals, and tending to perpetuate dissensions, insubordination, and disaffection in this country.377 From that date to this there had never been any question on the part of the Roman Catholic bishops about mixed education. In another document under their hand they repudiated again the error condemned by Pope Pius IX., and said that education must to some extent be under clerical supervision or control. They had always set their faces against mixed education even in regard to the technical instruction given under the Department of Agriculture. There had in those cases been protests against young people of different churches being allowed to meet at certain training colleges. He was not complaining of that, they had a right to enforce it if they did not like it, but if they did, let it not be said that it was not denominational education. It seemed to him that that was the whole subject with which the Bill was dealing, viz., the setting up of denominational education in Ireland. He and his friends considered that such a proposal was retrograde. Trinity College, Dublin, had been struggling to, and had thrown off its whole tendency to be denominational. On the Continent they could see the same thing taking place in Spain, and in Bavaria. The whole tendency of any University now was to shake off the shackles of any Church. As would be seen from the correspondence in The Times, the struggle was going on. If one of the professors taught Modernism, where there was a representative of the Pope in the country to which the University belonged, his dismissal was called for. As soon as ever a man raised his voice against the Papal Encyclical and in favour of Modernism, there was a conflict as to the right of free teaching. The same consideration did not arise so often in the Presbyterian Church, but there would be at any rate a source of friction. It was a retrograde step; the Government were going to set up under a teaching University in Dublin the same shackles which, in this country, we were endeavouring to get rid of year after year. They in Ireland objected very much to this process of segregation. They thought, it was an infinite pity that the Roman Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic bishops kept their people away from the Protestants as if they were heretics and there was some contagion about them. It was 378 an unfortunate thing and did not make for better feeling in Ireland. In Belfast they had a beautiful hospital to which everybody might go, but the Roman Catholics insisted upon having a hospital for themselves, and when that sort of thing was carried to the length of having separate graveyards it was no part of the duty of the British Government to endow separate universities for separate creeds. He and his friends were accustomed to be reproached with bigotry, and they were treated as if they were discussing the penal laws, which were not now in force, and objecting to their repeal. They had no objections to the Roman Catholics opening a University if they wanted one, but why should Protestants be taxed to set up a Catholic University, when this country said that all religions should be equal before the law? All the temporal possessions of the Irish Church had been taken from her, and from the moment they were taken, it was said that in Ireland there was to be absolute equality between all the religions. This proposal to endow the Presbyterian Church which had not asked for it with a University in Belfast, and the Roman Catholic Church which had asked for it over and over again with its own University in Dublin, was an absolutely retrograde policy. He would give one more quotation from a man who was a strong Presbyterian and had been president of this Presbyterian body and a strong supporter of Mr. Bryce's Bill. That gentleman said—In conclusion he hoped they would treat the new scheme of three universities that were bound to be sectarian less or more with the most uncompromising hostility. They should resist to the uttermost the notion of dividing the youth of the country in their best and most generous days of life into three hostile camps, since they were already divided enough. There was no squaring of the Presbyterian Church. There was no 'deal' The Presbyterian forms of procedure did not admit of such a thin. They were a free and open court. Their resolutions were in favour of the establishment of one University, with constituent colleges on an unsectarian basis.On the face of it, it became more and more evident that the real object of this Bill was not to establish equality between religious denominations in Ireland but to meet the demand of the 379 Roman Catholic bishops. Ulster Members were frequently told that they were narrow-minded and met all these proposals with a direct negative. He believed there had been a great change of opinion in Ireland, and that it was not in the direction wished by hon. Gentlemen below the gangway. The people were beginning to ask themselves why, when there was a splendid University in Dublin, to whom everybody might go, and Queen's Colleges at Belfast and Cork, the privilege of going to these places was not permitted, as a matter of Church policy, by the Roman Catholic bishops. It was a hard thing to say, and he spoke in all sincerity when he said that he did not like to say hard things, but he believed that if the House put its foot down and said that denominational endowment in Ireland was a retrograde policy, and that they would have no part or share in it, the Roman Catholic bishops would recognise the inevitable and no longer withold from their people the education which was waiting for them these, as it was at Oxford and Cambridge.
§ *MR. BUTCHER (Cambridge University)
said that the speech of the Chief Secretary in introducing this Bill was a model of lucid exposition; but to his mind it was much more, and he desired to join with the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition in congratulating the Chief Secretary on having, as he believed, found a solution of this question which would commend itself to the enlightened judgment of almost everybody, both in this country and in Ireland. No one would suspect him of any undue friendliness to the Chief Secretary on the side of Irish administration and policy, but his feeling on this question was above all political interests. He believed the right hon. Gentleman had found a way out of a difficulty which had perplexed successive Chief Secretaries. He himself perhaps knew as much as any Member of the House of the complexity of the problem. He had sat on two Commissions and had listened to evidence which had filled four or five volumes of Blue-books, and he ventured to say that the Chief Secretary had brought to bear on a baffling difficulty a candour and impartiality and statesman 380 ship which would make his tenure of office memorable. Few persons would dispute that the equity of the Roman Catholic demand had been proved. No less than five Chief Secretaries since 1886 had admitted it. Since 1901 two Royal Commissions, on which sat men representatives of all our Universities and all the curches in the Kingdom had declared with hardly a dissentient voice that the Roman Catholic demand was a just demand and ought to be met. Nor could the urgency of the demand be denied. It was no exaggeration to say that University education was worse off in Ireland to-day than it was thirty years ago. At that time a criminal blunder was made in the dissolution of the Queen's University and the substitution for it of the Royal University, which, whatever its merits, was educationally indefensible. During the last five years opinion in Ireland had been gradually maturing towards a solution of this kind, and he believed they had now arrived well-nigh at unanimity regarding the main lines of a University scheme. There were some who still said, Why should not Roman Catholics go to Trinity College? He was content with the answer that experience proved that they would not go there. He agreed with what Mr. Gladstone said in 1873, that it was not our business to inquire whether the Roman Catholics were right or wrong; the question for us was—supposing they were wrong in their view, was it right for us to exclude them from University training and culture? Personally, he ejected the idea that any man should be excluded from the privileges of higher education for conscience sake.
There were two cardinal conditions without which no scheme of University education for Roman Catholics could be successful. The first was that the plan proposed should meet with the approval of those in whose interests it was proposed. It was not enough to say: "Ask and ye shall receive,"—the direct opposite of that which was asked for. The long list of misunderstandings and failures—as in 1868, 1873, 1878—stood before them as a warning. The gift was all but given and then withdrawn or given in a form which nobody desired. The first condition, therefore, was that the solution proposed must satisfy 381 national sentiment. The second condition was that it must on the academic side satisfy instructed academic opinion. It was not worth the time and labour of the House, or worthy of its dignity, to set up institutions which had no promise of an intellectual future, no hope of promoting education or advancing learning. The reason he was able to support the Bill was that he believed the institutions which it proposed to found would foster all the elements of intellectual life in Ireland, that they might in time become great seats of learning, and even rival that one noble University which Ireland now possessed.
Coming to the Bill itself and the proposals which had been sketched out, he would first refer to Belfast. He had listened with astonishment to the description just given of the Belfast University as a Presbyterian University, a body in its essence denominational. It might as well be suggested that the Universities of Scotland were denominational because the majority of the students were Presbyterians. As to Edinburgh University he had lived there a good many years, but it had never occurred to him that the place was denominational. It was true there was a sort of negative test—he forgot the exact words—which came upon him by surprise when he was called upon to sign it. Its effect was that he would not in his teaching do anything to upset the Westminster Confession of Faith. As Plato, Arstotle, and Sophocles, did not know the Westminster Confession of Faith, he felt that without seriously embarrassing his conscience he might sign that test. But there was to be no kind of test in the University of Belfast. He welcomed the fact that the College was now prepared to accept University responsibilities. It had prospered under adverse conditions; it had survived the crippling blow dealt it in the destruction of the Queen's University. In recent years it had received liberal benefactions. He felt confident that civic generosity would be still further elicited when it had gained University status; that the new institution would be an intellectual stimulus to the whole district around; and that, as in Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham the citizens were proud of their City University, so in a very few 382 years to come Belfast would rejoice over its University as much as over its shipbuilding. Next he turned to the federal University with its seat at Dublin, the other constituent colleges being Corkand Galway. Other federal Universities had been proposed at different times. The federal University of Mr. Bryce was to include five colleges, one of which was to be Trinity College. Now a federal University was a delicate bit of mechanism, and the fatal objection to the Bryce scheme was that every point of contact would have been one of friction, for it brought unwilling yoke fellows into partnership with the probability of early disruption. Another previous scheme of federal University was that contemplated by the Robertson Commission. In that there were to be four constituent colleges, including Belfast. The scheme now before them embracing only three constituent colleges had this advantage over all the others, that it was more homogeneous; there was in it no distinct cleavage in academic policy Or religious principles. Of course, it would have a Catholic atmosphere; otherwise it would not satisfy those for whom it was intended. But let the broad fact be noted, that there were to be no tests either for students or professors; no student was to be debarred from competing for his religious belief; and there was to be no endowment out of public funds of any theological chair. That met many people's objections; but there was a further point. Consider the constitution of the governing body. There was a time when the Bishops insisted on controlling a Catholic University by their representatives as the governing body. In 1897 they modified that claim, and they said they would accept a majority of laymen. In 1902, in evidence before the Robertson Commission they demanded two ex officio representatives on the Catholic College in Dublin. To-day, if he understood aright, they had entirely withdrawn their claim for ex officio representation, for the governing body, he understood, was to be as free from tests as were the students. That was not all. The academic freedom of the governing body rested not merely or chiefly upon the absence of tests, but upon another 383 question—how were the vacancies in that body to be filled up? He was glad to hear from the Chief Secretary that as regards its permanent constitution the majority would consist of academically elected members. Out of thirty-five members seventeen were to be representatives of the constituent colleges, and five were to represent the graduates. The atmosphere, therefore, would be determined mainly by the character of the teachers and the graduates—the right way of determining the atmosphere. They would give the colour and tone to University policy; there was to be no external power exercising controlling authority.
He had said that a federal University was a delicate mechanism; and there were two main conditions of harmonious work; which he desired to emphasise. One was that the representation of the constituent colleges on the governing body should be a fair one, in particular that a just balance should be maintained between the claims of Dublin and Cork. The college in Dublin would, of course, be the metropolitan college of the University, and it ought to be national and not provincial, large, well-endowed, and on a scale sufficient to strike the imagination. In the words of the Robertson Commission—Unless what is done is done on an adequate and impressive scale, it need not be done at all. It is necessary that in the dignity of the buildings, the emoluments of he teachers and the equipment of the establishment, the institution should command respect and inspire enthusiasm.But subject to this condition, he would urge on the House that the claim of Cork for a place of due importance in the University system should be fully considered. The other condition of success was this—the Chief Secretary had alluded to it as one of the problems of the case—that there must be the largest measure of college autonomy that was consistent with the maintenance of a high academic standard. The detailed suggestions for effecting that end, contained in the Report of the Robertson Commission were, he thought, compatible with what had been said by the Chief Secretary that afternoon. He would mention two points. One concerned the appointment of professors in the constituent colleges. Each college must have, he did not say 384 a final voice, but an effective voice in the selection of its own professors. Secondly, the colleges should be free, subject to the approval of the University Senate, to lay down their own courses of study and to carry on their own examinations. It was right as proposed by the Chief Secretary, that there should be an outside examiner, who had a power of veto. But one of the weaknesses of most federal Universities was that the teaching body was more or less dissociated from the examining body; and the corrective now suggested was that the teachers should themselves be ex officio examiners, their results being revised by an external and impartial authority. He noted in passing with great satisfaction the proposal that the governing bodies of the Queen's Colleges at Cork and Galway should be so remodelled as to bring into closer contact with the districts from which they drew their students.
He now passed to the only two features of the scheme which caused him some misgiving. Both were connected with the question of affiliation. The first was that the Senate of the University was empowered to affiliate various colleges or other institutions. Now there were in Ireland a number of colleges, secondary schools, and diocesan seminaries which imagined themselves to be up to an academic standard, partly because they had sent up successful students to the examinations of the Royal University. Steady pressure would be brought to bear on the Senate to affiliate such institutions. If the Senate acted laxly and yielded, they would have all the evils of the Royal University over again. Young men cramming in their schools and seminaries, never studying in an academic centre, never coming under the liberalising influence of meeting fellow-students in a larger atmosphere, would merely carry on the present educational tradition. That would be the ruin of the scheme. The only answer under the Bill as it stood would be that there was no danger of the Senate doing anything so foolish. But one knew what ecclesiastical pressure was in Ireland in educational matters, and he regretted that such a responsibility should be laid on the Senate. Rather let the Bill itself specify the institutions to be 385 affiliated. The affiliation question, however, became much more serious in dealing with the two theological seminaries, Magee and Maynooth Colleges. It offended against all academical principles to allow residence at a theological seminary to count as residence at a University for the purposes of an Arts degree. He knew of no instance in which that was permitted in any other country. Maynooth was a great and organised institution, one of the most powerful in Ireland, and the affiliated college would in this case be more powerful than the college to which it was affiliated. In time it might dominate the whole University system. Dr. O'Dwyer, the Bishop of Limerick, gave evidence on this question before the Robertson Commission. He laid stress on the necessity of having an educated clergy, and on the gain that would result if clergy and laity became friends at college and attended the same lectures. He held out the hope that some 200 students, candidates for the priesthood, would come from Maynooth every year to study at the Catholic College in Dublin. But this idea was disclaimed by other witnesses who spoke for the hierarchy and in the end the prospect held out was merely that a handful of Honour Students and a few priests after passing through Maynooth might come up to Dublin to attend advanced courses in certain subjects. The suggestion might, however, still be made with all deference to the Roman Catholic prelates that Maynooth would withdraw the claim of being affiliated for Arts purposes to the Dublin 'College, and allow the ecclesiastical students to take their Arts course in Dublin in a residential hostel, under proper supervision, moral and religious. Having thus graduated in Arts they would pursue their theological studies at Maynooth. The whole affiliation question was one of grave importance and was likely to prove the chief flaw in the Bill.
But apart from this objection there was in some minds a fear that the new University would augment the power of the priesthood. For himself, he had no desire to increase priestly Tower either in this country or in Ireland; but he would put it to the 386 House, was it likely that the giving of higher education to Roman Catholics would aggravate the evil of priestly influence, if evil it was? He had so much belief in the value of learning, that he was confident that the more young men learned the less likely were they to come under any influence, priestly or otherwise, which would shut their minds upon intellectual truth. The safeguard lay not only in the reading of books and in attendance on lectures, but still more in such discussion and criticism as led to the enlargement and emancipation of the mind. The University question was not, as some thought, a bishop's question, but a layman's question. Nor was it the layman only of the upper class whom it concerned. Nothing had interested him more in recent years than to find that wherever he went, even in remote parts of Ireland, he came upon farmers, who might be supposed never to have heard of a University, who discussed the University question. Farmers, tradesmen, members of county councils,—many of them had power, they knew it; they had not knowledge—they were beginning to know that too; but they desired it for their sons. They had heard, moreover, of the younger and democratic Universities that had sprung up in England. They had discovered that there was a new alliance between industrial and University life, and that science was being applied to every department of social and economic activity. Their ambitions were stirred; they desired to share in that intellectual movement. Cork, prosperous and thriving, with a population remarkable for its energy and independence of mind already aspired to be a University city. The interest the question aroused had been shown by a thing unique in Ireland, namely, the magnificent offer made by the hon. Member for Cork to give his whole fortune to that College if it were put on a new basis either as a well-endowed University College or as a separate University. Cork desired to have its own University, but was content for the present with a College united to the University by a federal bond under conditions which ensured the needful freedom and elasticity. He appealed to the House no longer to allow the greatest of Irish treasures to go to waste 387 —the intellectual wealth and the love of learning long dormant or suppressed. Again and again high hopes had been formed, only to be dashed to the ground. This time, he thought, those hopes were destined to be fulfilled. Hon. Members would remember the words of the Great Charter: "To no man will we deny or delay justice." In this matter justice had been delayed, but justice would no longer be denied. He felt specially grateful to his political opponents for the magnanimous kindness by which they had thought him worthy of proposing his name for the first Senate. He would do all in his power to help to make the scheme a success. He thought the Bill now before them gave promise of a just settlement and he trusted it would have a speedy and prosperous passage through the House.
§ *MR. MASSIE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
said that whatever might be his personal attitude towards this Bill in regard to its details and probable working his attitude would never be the same as that which had been adopted by the hon. Member for North Armagh. He echoed the words of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition that this measure was a sincere attempt to solve a very complex problem. To a great extent he appreciated the difficulties which the Chief Secretary for Ireland had had to face in the course of his very necessary and important task, and if anyone could conciliate opposition it was the right hon. Gentleman. If the Chief Secretary could not command success in this matter he at least deserved it. Complete success was indeed a thing incredible. He fully recognised the success with which the right hon. Gentleman had been able to cope with many difficulties, and he was very glad to notice in connection with the Bill how the episcopate had modified its demands. The University was to be a real one, it was to be an abode of learning from which no Irishman or any other man was to be debarred by his religious views from being a student or a professor, or in due time a member of the governing body. He did not call that a denominational atmosphere, on paper at any rate. When the crutches which at first would be used to set the University on its legs 388 were removed, he understood that this. University was to be self-governing, democratically governed by graduates without any serious interference by a co-optative or nominated element, whether spiritual or temporal. What then was further needed to bring up a University in the way it should go? Nothing, except one thing, and that was that they should make sure that this paper constitution would be a reality. If the Irish people were determined to have it so then it would be so. If the University was to be a genuine on, then its professors must be free to teach that which was in them. There must be no dismissal of a professor of biology because he believed in evolution and told his class so. There must be no dismissal of a professor of philosophy because he did not bow the knee to St. Thomas Aquinas. It was the pride of Oxford and Cambridge, of Paris, of Jena, Tübingen and Berlin, of Harvard and of Yale that their professors were free men, and every University founded in modern times must be on those lines, or the modern spirit would be found like one walking about in waste places seeking rest and finding none. If this University was developed in the manner described in the Bill it would be in the end a home of academic freedom and companionship of men of different faiths, and that. University would be the pride of Ireland. He regretted that the hope of those patriots of the Young Ireland Party of two generations ago was, now fading away. They looked for one great National University in which all the sons of Ireland could associate freely together, and in their impressionable years learn how to differ without hostility, and how to soften the asperities of Catholic and Protestant, of Nationalist and Orangeman. The legislators who founded the Queen's Colleges desired to look upon a home of harmony, equality and brotherhood, but they had hoped in vain. This Bill in that respect seemed to him to be a signal of despair. There was not going to be one great national University but three Universities, one practically Protestant, another practically Presbyterian, and a third practically Roman Catholic. The Roman Catholics, with their bishops, would have it so, the Presbyterians, or rather a section of the 389 Presbyterians—and he was not certain that he could not more truly say an individual section—were content that it should be so—[Cries of "No"]—and Trinity College, Dublin, had secured that it should be so. Their opposition had been transformed to agreement and even to support. That was the price they paid for "hands off Trinity" If that was the case it would be so to the regret of those whom he ventured to call true Unionists, who desired a University, even as Young Ireland had desired one, where men of all faiths freely mingled together. He was not sure that Trinity College, Dublin, would not live to repent it, because it was now standing aloof from the great stream of national life, and its lot might yet be that of the pool which was proud to stand still while the great river rushed by. Even statesmen might yet repent this action and look back and wish that those who had so rashly divided the educational life of Ireland were not met with more firmness, more patience and more strict justice, instead of being allowed rather too easily to get their way. He still had one hope and to that he clung. His hope rested in the people of Ireland themselves. He looked forward to the time when the Irish people would take their educational salvation into their own hands and brush aside all injurious interference, whether spiritual or temporal, and take care that those who had to shape the destinies of the University which this Bill proposed, should make that institution a University worth of the name, national, broad, comprehensive and free.
§ MR. WILLIAM O'BRIEN (Cork)
said that they were mindful of the difficulties of this great question. He desired at once to join his colleagues in wishing god-speed to the Bill. It was a happy augury to find the Leader of the Opposition and the Member for Cambridge University concurring with a Liberal Minister in putting their shoulders to the wheel for the settlement of this seemingly inextricable problem. Without some such spirit of magnaminity and of mutal compromise between Irishmen and between Englishmen as well, some of them recognised that it was not possible to solve this question nor indeed any other great Irish question. None of 390 them on those benches would be grudging in their acknowledgment of the spirit of generosity which they Leader of the Opposition and the hon. Member for Cambridge University had shown, and which alone made it possible for the right hon. Gentleman to introduce this Bill, and not only introduce it, but pass it before the end of the session. The Bill was really a Bill for the emancipation of the people of Ireland from intellectual penal laws almost as humiliating and as destructive of any higher life in the country as the more brutal penal laws in other matters. As to the speech of the hon. Member for North Armagh, he had not left them in any doubt that they were still threatened with opposition of a somewhat forlorn character, and opposition on which he was afraid any argument of generosity, or indeed any other argument would be thrown away. But when they had men of the intellectual calibre and of the standing in public life of the Leader of the Opposition and the Member for Cambridge University, generously acknowledging that under the existing state of the law Ireland was crippled and sterilised in the matter of higher education, and throwing themselves into the breach to enable even a. Liberal Minister to provide a remedy, he did not think the Chief Secretary need be greatly daunted by an opposition which still, he was sorry to say, was of the kind of the old ascendancy, but which was not perhaps nowadays particularly distinguished for brilliancy or daring. He hoped the hon. Member for North Armagh would not take it as a personal offence if he suggested that, whatever other feeling they might inspire among a dwindling band of their fellow countrymen in Ireland, the last feeling they were likely to inspire was that the Nationalists had any dread of them. They and their ascendency were things of the past. The Government had obeyed for good or ill the warning "hands off Trinity" and, he thought, he and his friends had some right to retort upon these gentlemen, "hands of Ireland." He hoped that hon. Members on the Liberal side of the House, who might think it necessary to oppose the Bill, would think a great many times before they said or did anything to complicate differences. He 391 hoped he might respectfully appeal to them to let Irishmen settle this question among themselves, and to remember that this Bill involved no wrong and no disability upon any human being of any class or party in Ireland. It simply enabled three-fourths of the population of Ireland to enjoy the blessings of higher education from which, under existing circumstances, they were debarred. They did not for an instant pretend to infringe the religious liberties of any other persons. They simply asked to be allowed to enjoy those liberties themselves in the only way in which they could conscientiously do so. He would ask hon. Members representing English constituencies to remember that there were matters on which they must agree to differ, and on which they must be prepared to allow that Catholics were perhaps the best judges of what it was permissible for them to do in the domain of conscience, and to trust the Catholic young laymen of Ireland to take care of the intellectual liberties of their Protestant fellow-countrymen if they should ever be attacked. So much for the sympathy with which they regarded the right hon. Gentleman's entrance on the path which he had chosen. He had been met with a great many intimidatory remarks by the hon. Member for North Armagh. He did not for a moment pretend that this was an ideal settlement. Was there ever an ideal settlement, or was there ever likely to be an ideal settlement as the result of their human struggles? Although those who represented Cork had to speak with certain amount of reserve, they all recognised, in the words of the Leader of the Opposition, that this was a sincere and courageous effort capable of yielding incalculable blessing to the future higher education of Ireland, and certainly it would be no fault of theirs if this great measure of intellectual emancipation was lost to the youth of Ireland. He was startled at the ingenuity of the hon. and learned Member for North Armagh in discovering a grievance in the new Belfast University. He only wished that they had been made to suffer from the same grievance in Cork, for certainly their patience had been tested in a somewhat severe way. Up to recently Belfast had not shown any opposition of the kind which the hon. 392 and learned Gentleman had expressed. The proposal was a handsome piece of good fortune for Belfast, but the hon. Member condoled with the unfortunate people of the North of Ireland that the gift had been almost pressed upon them. It was one of the little ironies in the government of Ireland that Belfast should get a University it did not seek, while the University which Cork most earnestly asked had been refused. He did not complain, and the people did not complain. They recognised that it was no fault of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. They did not grudge the people of Belfast what they regarded as a very valuable charter, and they did not grudge the very substantial increase which had been made to their endowments, although Belfast was, from its wealth, better able to supplement State endowments than other parts of the country. Still less did they grudge or demur in the slightest degree, except as to its smallness, the provision made for the new University in Dublin and the University College with which it would be so closely identified. They recognised in the fullest manner that Dublin was the centre and reservoir to which the youth from the southern provinces would naturally go, and that it was entitled to such endowment and equipment as would enable her worthily to fulfil the function of building up what was required in the way of higher education for three-quarters of the young men in Ireland. Although in Cork they would be undoubtedly heavily handicapped in the race, they hoped they would be able to start under conditions which would give promise of success. For the people of the poorer classes in Munster, with whom he and his friends were principally concerned, a residence in Dublin, or higher teaching in Dublin, was out of the question, but it was not a bad sign of the intellectual alertness of the people of the South that they had declared themselves ready to tax themselves out of their own pockets in order to have a University of their own. They were ready to make a start at this great disadvantage provided they were not forced to start under conditions which would place Cork in the position of being completely overshadowed by the more wealthy institutions of the North. 393 While they heartily accepted this provisional arrangement they hoped that by-and-by, when Cork would have won its spurs, and hid shown its metal, such a charter of autonomy as they now started with would be enlarged by the nature process of affiliation by which constituent colleges in the north of England had evolved into Universities. He wished to say that, without fuller consideration of the right hon. Gentleman's proposals, he did not like to come to any final decision on the subject So far as he could judge, the proposals of the Chief Secretary to give them a fair start very much depended upon the first Senate, but there was no concealing from the How and from themselves their apprehension that Cork would be left at a very grievous disadvantage in that respect. The Member for Cambridge University had said that the Cork Medical School—the Cork College—was on a level with the Dublin School of Medicine, and that it would be to a great extent crowded out by Dublin under the present proposal He was glad to hear the Chief Secretary say that on all these questions his mind was open, and that there would be plenty of opportunity, hereafter, for discussing them in a friendly way. As to matters of income and the local governing powers that were proposed to be conferred upon Cork College, he wished to say a word. He quite shared the protest of the hon. Member for East Mayo as to the monetary provision for the Dublin University, but he must candidly admit that as to the other provisions allocated to the Cork College it did not seem to him a serious grievance even against the English Treasury. As to the local governing powers that were proposed to be conferred upon them he hoped that they might work out practically in a system that would make the efficiency of the Cork students tested by their own professors instead of by strange professors which sometimes put students to a very serious disadvantage, although, to use a phrase employed in the fiscal controversy, they would have the advantage of a preferential tariff. Without that much of autonomy, it would be better to put Cork out of pain at once. On this subject he asso- 394 ciated himself wholly with the view of the Member for Cambridge University and on the part of the people of the South of Ireland he thanked him most cordially for his most powerful support. He accepted his position that in the first place they ought to have the right of shaping their own course of studies in those special matters, such as the higher agricultural education, brewing, chemistry, schools of journalism, music, and teaching generally of the higher stamp, in which they could find careers suitable for their own young people. They must also have what the hon. Member for Cambridge University called an effective voice in the appointment of their own professors, and they must have it made clear that their own student would be examined at their own University centre by their own professors, subject, of course, to the appointment of an external examiner for the purpose of maintaining the standard of efficiency so long as there was an interchange of external examiners all round. If they only got, as he was satisfied the Chief Secretary intended they should get a fair initial start upon this basis they would not be afraid to face the music and to take their chance. They had sufficient confidence in the capacity and enthusiasm for learning of their young people, and he had sufficient confidence in the man who was at the head of the institution in Cork. They were quite willing to take their chance with the future. With this very modest measure of justice for their side they were most ready to join in obtaining the fullest possible measure of endowing scientific equipment, and of teaching power for Catholics and Protestants in Galway or Cork, or in Dublin or Belfast. They would enter into competition with, them without the smallest tinge of professional or sectarian jealousy. On the contrary, the more highly Ireland was educated, the better it would be for toleration and liberality of mind al round, for all religions and for higher education. He begged to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the speech he had made, and he hoped he would not think it presumptuous if he ventured to press upon him, having regard to the reception the Bill had, even with the many 395 English Bills in the way, he should take a firm stand to secure immediate facilities for the passage of the Bill into law in the present session.
§ MR. WYNDHAM (Dover)
As one who has long wished to see some practical solution of this question of University education for Ireland, I wish to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the bold use he has made of a fair opportunity. I am persuaded that those who see the difficulties of this question, and they are great, will not get a return for the money justly devoted for those other reforms in Ireland unless Ireland has a proper system of education. All the credit and cash which have been devoted to land purchase and the establishment of new departments, to the many other projects which have been contemplated in the past or which may be undertaken in the future, will fail of their effect unless Ireland has an effective educational system, and University education is by far the most important part of it. It is not the roof to complete an edifice, but the foundation and source from which all fructification follows. On these grounds and claims I welcome this Bill. But I welcome it also as a Unionist, because that will enable enable us to urge, as we have urged over and over again in the past, that this Parliament is willing to undertake any services for Ireland which any Parliament sitting in Dublin would be willing to do. I welcome this Bill because it will prevent that strong disparity between the existing opportunities for higher education in this country and those in Ireland—a disparity which must always be a source of deep concern to Unionists. I welcome this Bill because it is a conservative measure, and preserves existing institutions. I welcome it because it is an Imperialist measure (and I wish to see Ireland an integral part of the United Kingdom and of the Empire) and because it will enable Ireland to take her place side by side with Great Britain in competition with other countries in science, art, invention, and commerce. Of course there are difficulties, but to those who think them formidable, I would point out that at this moment we devote a great deal of money in respect to primary education in Ireland which 396 has a distinctly denominational character. There is the College of Maynooth with absolutely denominational teaching and clerical government. Those who fear the domination of the priesthood should be glad that there are to be other institutions in Ireland which have a denominational atmosphere and not a clerical control. It may be said that Trinity College and the old Queen's Colleges are open. So they are, but many Irishmen either will not, cannot, or at any rate do not send their sons to these institutions; and it is clear that some institutions must be opened to which they can send their sons. On these historical grounds of a political character and on modern grounds of a practical character I welcome this Bill. We know that Irishmen lost much of their property in the soil of Ireland by political views and that by fiscal views their commerce was destroyed, although the Party which which I am connected hope at some time to remedy the latter as it has done the first. I believe, however, that neither land purchase nor fiscal reform will avail unless an opportunity is afforded for the restoration of a University education to the youth of Ireland On all these grounds I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the attempt that he has made to secure that.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG (Antrim, S.)
said that before the vote was taken he wished to put before the House the views which he and his colleagues from Ulster held on this question. He must admit, however, that that might seem a work of supererogation because those views had been placed before the House by his friends in a manner which he could not for a moment hope to attain. He was convinced that the House would agree that the view they had always taken had been put forward in the most admirable and moderate way by those sitting on that side of the House. The solution of this question rested primarily with the followers of the right hon. Gentleman and chiefly with the Nonconformists opposite. He desired to ask those Nonconformists whether they considered that if this Bill passed, the higher education proposed to be set up by it would not be higher education of a sectarian character. The right hon. 397 Gentleman had carefully avoided that question, but it was the crux of the whole matter. Was the higher education to be afforded by the Chief Secretary for Ireland to be denominational or not? If there could have been any doubts while the right hon. Gentleman was speaking those doubts were set aside when they heard the speeches of hon. Gentlemen below the gangway, because they made no secret of the fact that this was an attempt to satisfy the Roman Catholic portion of the population of Ireland on the question of Irish education. They had admitted frankly that it was a University for Roman Catholics. If that was so, and he did not think the Chief Secretary would deny that that was the whole object of the Bill, he would like to know from hon. Members on the other side of the House, especially from the Nonconformists, how, in the face of their opposition to denominational education in this country in the past, they could bring themselves to vote for this Bill. He asked hon. Members on all sides of the House to believe that they opposed this Bill from perfectly pure motives and with absolute sincerity. They believed that in setting up a University to which Roman Catholics alone could go, the Government were perpetuating or tending to perpetuate a system under which they would separate the different religious bodies in Ireland into separate watertight compartments, and everybody admitted that that was not a policy likely to conduce to the welfare of Ireland. He had not heard any argument put forward in favour of this Bill, but only the extenuation that the Roman Catholics of Ireland had made up their minds that they could not use any existing University, and that being so it was the duty of the State to provide them with a University of which they could make use. If the mere holding out, on the part of the Roman Catholics, for a University of their own was to be a good reason for granting it he asked why did not they grant this University forty years ago. They had held out for fifty years, and he saw no change in the facts to-day as compared with fifty years ago. If it was wrong to give this education then it was wrong to give it to-day. In this country the Roman Catholic was perfectly free to go to any University he 398 liked: why should it be wrong for him to do so in Ireland? He could not see why a totally different and a reactionary principle should be applied to Ireland than was applied to every other country in the world. They all knew the history of Roman Catholic Universities in other countries. Every one that had existed had sooner or later been suppressed and put down by Roman Catholics themselves. But now they were asked in the twentieth century to establish in Ireland a state of affairs which, having been founded in other countries two centuries ago, had been given up fifty or sixty years ago. Nobody, he thought, could deny that this proposal of the right hon. Gentleman was a retrograde and harmful step. Some reference had been made to the action of the Presbyterians in Belfast in accepting the offer or bribe of £60,000 or £70,000 in order to convert the Queen's College of that city into a University, but he would like the House to understand that the general body of Presbyterians in the North of Ireland were not in favour of that movement, not because Belfast was not large enough to support a University of its own, but on the grounds he had indicated. The Queen's College there was already partly stereotyped as a Presbyterian institution, but under the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman it would become absolutely stereotyped.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG
replied that its whole staff would be Presbyterian from the head downwards. It would become stereotyped for precisely the same reason that the University they proposed to set up in Dublin would be a Roman Catholic University. The right hon. Gentleman had talked about the great enthusiasm which prevailed, but there was none except in the immediate entourage of the Queen's College itself. The other inhabitants did not want it, because they recognised that in creating a University and making it a sectarian place of education they would deprive themselves to a large extent of the argument they had always used against denominational education all over the country. His colleagues and he intended, although he understood it was 399 a somewhat unusual course, to divide against the introduction of the Bill for the purpose of entering at the very earliest opportunity their most emphatic protest against setting up an institution in Ireland which they firmly believed was retrograde and could not possibly act beneficially towards Ireland as a whole.
§ SIR E. CARSON (Dublin University)
I only desire to say almost a single word on this question, but as I spoke in favour of a somewhat similar proposal fifteen years ago and have done so almost every year since, I do not desire that the present occasion should pass without saying that I am still in favour of the view I have so often expressed. I am indeed glad that the opportunity has been found by the Chief Secretary to bring forward these proposals which I think have had such a good send-off today. I have always supported these proposals, because I believe they are the only possible proposals for Ireland. It is all very well to talk about an ideal system of all creeds mixing in one University. That system has been tried at Queen's College and Trinity College, Dublin, founded as a great Protestant institution. Tests have been abolished
§ in Trinity College and everything has been done to try to get Roman Catholics to come into the college and share its benefits. That system has been pursued for fifty years, and my hon. friend has asked why now should we give what was refused fifty years ago. Why should we not go on for another fifty years? Meanwhile are the youth of Ireland for that reason to be deprived of a University education? That is not statesmanship. The facts as they exist have to be faced and the situation relieved. So far as I am concerned, I have no fear of my Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen, but I prefer them educated and highly educated to uneducated. By devolution of responsibility within the last few years, moreover, we have created responsibilities and offices which have to be filled by educated Irishmen. I join in the thanks expressed by my right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition to the Chief Secretary for having taken advantage of the opportunity and for having brought forward this Bill.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 307; Noes, 24. (Division List No. 61.)403
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Brace, William||Curran, Peter Francis|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Bramsdon, T. A.||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Branch, James||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Bryce, J. Annan||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)|
|Armitage, R.||Bull, Sir William James||Delany, William|
|Astbury, John Meir||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Devlin, Joseph|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Dickinson, W.H. (St. Pancras, N.|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, N.)||Butcher, Samuel Henry||Dillon, John|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond.)||Byles, William Pollard||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark.)||Cameron, Robert||Duckworth, James|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Duffy, William J.|
|Barker, John||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furn's|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Cawley, Sir Frederick||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Chance, Frederick William||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Erskine, David C.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Clancy, John Joseph||Esmonde, Sir Thomas|
|Barry. E. (Cork, S.)||Cleland, J. W.||Esslemont, George Birnie|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.||Clough, William||Everett, R. Lacey|
|Beale, W. P.||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Faber, G. H. (Boston)|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Bell, Richard||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W||Fell, Arthur|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Fenwick, Charles|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo.||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Ferens, T. R.|
|Bennett, E. N.||Cox, Harold||Ffrench, Peter|
|Bethell, Sir J. H (Essex, Romfr'd||Crean, Eugene||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Crooks, William||Findlay, Alexander|
|Black. Arthur W.||Crosfield, A. H.||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Boland, John||Crossley, William J.||Fletcher, J. S.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Cullinan, J.||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Lupton, Arnold||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Gilhooly, James||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Rees, J. D.|
|Gill, A. H.||Maclean, Donald||Rendall, Athelstan|
|Glover, Thomas||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Richardson, A.|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Mac Veigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Ridsdale, E. A.|
|Guinness, Walter Edward||M'Callum, John M.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Gulland, John W.||M'Kean, John||Roberts G. H. (Norwich)|
|Gurdon, Rt Hn Sir W. Brampton||M'Killop, W.||Robertson, Sir G Scott (Bradf'rd|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||M'Micking, Major G.||Robinson, S.|
|Hall, Frederick||Maddison, Frederick||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Halpin, J.||Magnus, Sir Philip||Roche, John (Galway, East)|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Mallet, Charles E.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Rowlands, J.|
|Harvey, W.E. (Derbyshire, N.E)||Marnham, F. J.||Runciman, Walter|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Massie, J.||Russell, T. W.|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Meagher, Michael||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.||Schwann, Sir C.E. (Manchester)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.||Seddon, J.|
|Hazleton, Richard||Micklem, Nathaniel||Shackleton, David James|
|Healy, Timothy Michael||Mond, A.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Helmsley, Viscount||Montagu. E. S.||Sheehy, David|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||Mooney, J. J.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Morpeth, Viscount||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.||Morse, L. L||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Henry, Charles S.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Muldoon, John||Snowden, P.|
|Higham, John Sharp||Muntz, Sir Philip A.||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Hodge, John||Murnaghan, George||Stanely, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Hogan, Michael||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Stewart, Halley (Greenock|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Nannetti, Joseph P||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N||Napier, T. B.||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Summerbell, T.|
|Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Newnes, Sir George (Swansea)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Hudson, Walter||Nolan, Joseph||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Hunt, Rowland||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hyde, Clarendon||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Jardine, Sir J.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Tillett, Louis John|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||O'Brien, William (Cork)||Tomkinson, James|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Toulmin, George|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||O'Doherty, Philip||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Jowett, F. W.||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Verney, F. W.|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Dowd, John||Wadsworth, J.|
|Kekewich, Sir George||O'Grady, J.||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Kelley, George D.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.||Walters, John Tudor|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Malley, William||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton|
|Kettle, Thomas Michael||O'Shaughnessy. P. J.||Wardle, George J.|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Shee, James John||Waring, Walter|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Partington, Oswald||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Lambert, George||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Lamont, Norman||Pearson, W.H.M. (Suffolk, Eye)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Pollard, Dr.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||Power, Patrick Joseph||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Lehmann, R. C.||Priestley, W.E.B. (Bradford, E.)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich||Raphael, Herbert H.||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Lough, Thomas||Reddy, M.||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)||Winfrey, R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr.|
|Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon||Whiteley and Mr. J. A.|
|Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George||Pease.|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Gordon, J.||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Hamilton, Marquess of||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Clark, George Smith||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Cochrane. Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||M'Arthur, Charles||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr.|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Moore and Mr. Lonsdale.|
§ Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Birrell, Mr. Secretary Haldane, and Mr. Attorney-General for Ireland.