§ Order read, for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment to Question [25th November], "That the Bill be now read a second time."
Which Amendment was—
To leave out the word 'now' and at the end of the Question to add the words 'upon this day three months.'"—(Mr. Hutton.)
§ Question again proposed "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London)
I think the House will expect that I should say something on the subject which is engaging all our thoughts; but I desire to preface such remarks as I have to make by the observation that I can only, upon this matter, speak for myself alone. A compromise, or proposed compromise, of this kind, especially with the notice that we have had of it, cannot be regarded as one on which organised opinion can be stated, and I desire to commit nobody but myself to the point of view which I shall endeavour to 708 lay before the House. May I also say that I approach this burning topic with a very special sense of the difficulty of the situation and with the responsibility which attaches to any man who makes the prospect of peace, if prospect of peace there be, more difficult to attain. And certainly, although. I cannot think that what I shall say will be agreeable to or consonant with the views of His Majesty's Government, still I think that, when I sit down, they will admit that I have endeavoured as far as possible to avoid anything in the nature of provocative retort or unnecessary acerbity of statement. That course is the easier because I do not think that I am required to discuss the merits of the Bill before the House. I do not think it is the merits of the Bill which are, indeed, under discussion. It is not whether the new system of education which the Government measure contemplates is in itself a desirable system—that is not the point, or at any rate the main point, with which we are dealing. What I conceive; the House has got to think of—what each of us has got to think of—in the vote that 709 we stall be asked to give to-night, and in the votes that we shall be asked to give on subsequent stages of the measure, is not the mere bare merits of the Bill, but the question—Is this or is it not what it professes to be, a settlement of the education question?—and it is to that point, and to that point alone, that I desire to address myself. I am quite aware that many Gentlemen naturally have not restricted themselves to that aspect of the question. We have had speeches from both sides of the House explaining how far the solution of the Government departs from the various ideals which Members of this House have formed for themselves as to what ought to be our educational system. The mover of the Amendment we are now discussing—the hon. Member for Morley— gave a description of what he regarded as the consequences of this Bill, which I think must have almost converted some of my friends to the belief that it was an exceedingly good measure for the Church. On the other hand, there have been speeches delivered from this side of the House which I am quite sure suggested to the Nonconformist auditor that after all, perhaps, this measure does not carry with it the peril to the sacredness from denominational teaching of the provided schools which they were afraid it would involve. Those Members on different sides of the House who have discussed the merits of the Bill have probably gone far to converting their opponents to the desirability of supporting it. But I do not propose to enter into the lists either with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Morley or with any of the friends on my side of the House who take the very gloomiest view as to the actual working of the measure, or as to the probability that the measure really would carry out what the Government said they desire to see carried out. I do not propose to discuss that in detail. I am going to confine myself strictly to the question: Is this going to give us—what we all desire—a final settlement—a settlement final within the ordinary reasonable outlook of reasonable men—is it going to give us a settlement of the vexed education question as far as we in this House can look forward? Many Gentlemen seem to think that this Bill is going to give us a settlement because it is a com- 710 promise; but while I quite admit that almost every final settlement of any controverted question has in it elements of compromise, I would venture to point out to the House that a compromise is not necessarily a settlement, and we have got to consider the terms of this compromise to see whether or not it does carry within it elements of a permanent or quasi-permanent settlement. After all, if the-Bill is not a settlement, it is nothing. Nobody defends it on its merits. It has not found in this House, in the whole course of yesterday's debate, so far as I know, one single individual sitting in any quarter of the House as representing any section of public opinion who does not think from his own point of view it is a bad Bill. The Government do not think it a good Bill; the hon. Member for Morley thinks it is an abominable Bill. The spokesman of the Irish Party on this occasion denounced it, or that part of it which affected his co-religionists, in the most uncompromising manner, and nobody who spoke upon these benches, whether they look forward with hope, as does my hon. friend the late Secretary for Education, or whether they look forward without hope, to the future of the measure—not one single individual has found anything to say for it on its intrinsic merits. If it is not a settlement, it is nothing. What ground have the Government for believing and hoping that it is to be a settlement? The President of the Board of Education brought it forward yesterday as if it was in the nature of an agreed treaty between high contracting parties, and, no doubt, like other treaties between high contracting parties, it embodied provisions which neither of the contracting parties wholly approve, but to which they were ready to assent, and on which they were ready to make a permanent treaty of peace. That was the contention of the Government. Who were the high contracting parties? Between whom was the treaty made? A treaty of peace between two countries may carry with it the most admirable and desirable consequences, because each is bound in honour to carry out, even to its disadvantage or partial disadvantage, the provisions of the treaty. Who bound themselves by this treaty? Are the Government bound in the future? 711 Are the Church party bound? Are hon. Gentlemen opposite bound? Are my hon. friends behind me bound, or the Irish—those for whom the Member for the Scotland Division spoke yesterday? Are the Nonconformist divines bound? Are the bishops bound? I confess I am deeply impressed by the extraordinarily unpractical position, cloudy, obscure, ambiguous, in which we all find ourselves at the present moment in connection with this matter. Let me just go through these various interested parties to whom I have referred. Take the Nonconformist divines. As I understand their attitude, as explicitly stated by high authorities like Dr. Clifford, they say this may be tolerable as a step towards what they call a national system. Quite so. That which is recommended or accepted only as a step cannot in the nature of things be regarded as a settlement. I do not think I shall be accused in this matter of at all exaggerating the attitude which Dr. Clifford and I am sure many gentlemen who are listening to me take up. They look upon the arrangement embodied in the Bill with the deepest distrust, and if they tolerate it at all, they tolerate it because they think it is a stepping-stone to something more in accordance with their preconceived ideas. I do not say the treaty of peace does not bind them, or that they do not mean to be bound by it; but neither Dr. Clifford outside this House nor gentlemen in this House who agree with Dr. Clifford will think of getting up here or elsewhere and saying: "We do not like this measure; we are not pledged to accept it; but we mean to accept it, not merely in this Session, but as a permanent settlement of the whole question." They will not do that; they do not mean to do it. I do not know what opinion hon. Gentlemen opposite have formed of the views of divines belonging to the Anglican Church. We have had so little time to make investigation that I hesitate to give a conclusive opinion upon it; but I should be astonished if a vast majority of the clergy of the Church of England are not found to regard this measure with the utmost suspicion and dislike, which, in itself, mind you, does not necessarily condemn it if it is to be a permanent 712 compromise, but which does condemn it if they can only be required or forced to accept this measure until better times come and a better measure can be modelled more in accordance with their views. But if they accept it in any other spirit than that, they, equally with the Nonconformist divines, are practically in their hearts already contemplating by what future steps this so-called settlement is to be modified so as to suit their views as to the manner in which elementary education shall be carried on in this country. If these statements be true, and surely they are true of the Anglican and Nonconformist divines, what am I to say of the Roman Catholics? As everybody knows, they are to a man opposed to this solution. I do not believe there is a single exception, either in this House or out of it, among those interested in the education of Roman Catholics, or I would add, as far as I know, other bodies of our countrymen who attach the utmost value to denominational education, who do not regard all the provisions in this Bill dealing with their interests as in themselves evil, as necessarily temporary, and as measures which it will be their bounden duty to upset as soon as the power of upsetting them is given. The Government may lightly regard the importance of the Roman Catholic vote in this country, and I imagine that as far as English Roman Catholics are concerned the vote may not be important from the wire-pullers' point of view; and, as far as the Irish Roman Catholics are concerned, no doubt they are bound to the Government by other ties so strong that their difference with the Government on education may not be sufficient to separate them. But, although the Roman Catholic vote may be a negligible quantity politically, do not tell me that any settlement can stand permanently which every earnest and high-minded Roman Catholic in this country thinks an outrage upon his faith and absolutely fatal to the education of his children. And if you embody provisions of that kind in your Bill, is it not as certain as that day follows night that what you call a settlement is predestined to be upset upon the first favourable opportunity by some fresh arrangement of your system introduced in another Session devoted 713 to this thorny, difficult, and embarrassing question, and that you will not be able by this measure to put out of sight this painful controversy? Those who cherish that delusion are destined not only to a very rude, but an early awakening. I turn from the Roman Catholics and ask whether the Radical politicians on the other side regard this as a permanent solution. Does the hon. Member for Morley and his friends regard it as such? We have always been told that the Nonconformists are a most powerful element in the party opposite. Do they conceive themselves bound by this Bill to leave the question of education exactly where this Bill leaves it? Do they regard themselves as pledged in honour to it? I do not believe they do. I think they would be mad if they gave any such pledge. But other Gentlemen give no such pledge, and if they expect to have an opportunity of remodelling it in their own interest, where, I ask, is the element of settlement which we all desire to find in these terms? I turn from the various classes which I have ventured to enumerate, and I ask what is the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury and those most eminent and distinguished prelates who have worked with him and who agree with him. The Government know much more about this than I do. They probably know exactly how they stand with the Archbishop. I confess I do not know. We had a long correspondence published the other day; and, like a well-managed serial story, it stopped just at the interesting point. The last published letter of which we have been put in possession is one from the Archbishop, in which it seems to begin to dawn upon him that the Bill contains provisions which make it utterly unpalatable to himself and his friends. I cannot read this in any other way. He mentions certain points and says—It is because these are not mere incidental financial details, but inherent elements in the structure of a balanced settlement, that I have throughout made my assent to the general plan of settlement depend upon such conditions being satisfactory.We know nothing as to whether the Archbishop is satisfied with these inherent elements in a balanced settlement 714 —the Government have not yet told us. The Archbishop goes on to say—I am eagerly anxious that we should go forward with the proposed settlement. But you will, I know, recognise the impossibility of our doing so with any degree of general assent, or with the hope of ultimate success, if one limb of the arrangement is paralysed from the outset.
§ Apparently, according to the Archbishop, it is paralysed.
MR. A. J. BALFOURI
Well, we have not had the letter in which he says it is not paralysed. I should very much like to hear how that stands, and I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will be glad to tell us. I was startled to hear on good authority that the Bishop of London, whose name has appeared in the very forefront of all those who desire a settlement—that his opinion is against the Bill as it stands and that he will vote against its Second Reading. How does the Government stand? At what point are these negotiations deficient, and how far are the parties committed, not merely to the Bill of the Government, but to this Bill being regarded as permanent? And, in this connection, I very earnestly ask one quite precise and specific question of the Prime Minister. If this is a treaty between any two parties at all, the high contracting parties are the Government on one side and the Archbishop and certain other members of the episcopal bench on the other. Do the Government conceive that the Archbishop is bound in honour if this Bill passes to withhold his encouragement, indeed, to discourage, any later attempt by which perhaps another Government, with a different balance of parties in this House, might seek to place all sects, all denominations, upon a precisely level and equal basis? I do not know whether it would ever be possible to carry out what I conceive to be the real solution of the education difficulty, but if it is I want to know whether the Government consider that the Archbishop of Canterbury, by giving his adhesion to this compromise, the terms of which he does not, of course, like any more than the other parties to the compromise, is bound to resists any such further reform of our education 715 system. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman will answer me across the floor now or prefer to wait till he speaks. But supposing that the answer is, as I conceive it must be, that the Archbishop is at liberty to-morrow or the day after, or after the next general election, or whenever you like—at the earliest possible moment—to try, if this Bill passes, to amend it by the terms of this compact. If he is not bound, may I ask whether in this agreement between two contracting parties there is the smallest hope or prospect of a permanency? I think it is a most unhappy condition of things, most obscure and difficult as regards this arrangement as considered from the point of view of a treaty. Perhaps you will say: "After all, this is not a treaty. It is an arrangement which, if we can only get it through by Parliamentary pressure or otherwise, has in it such necessary elements of stability that, though there is grumbling now on the part of Nonconformists, of the Church, and of Roman Catholics, practically, when you have got the new system working every one will acquiesce in it." That may be said. Does anybody really say it; does anybody really think it? I have referred to the feelings of the great Nonconformist bodies, politicians, clergy, and leaders in that particular school of educational thought, and I will not refer to them further. But consider the feelings of Churchmen. I do not ask you to say that those feelings are justified, but to consider what they must be, and whether an arrangement which, starting under the shadow of such feelings, can have in it the elements of a settlement. Now, just see what you are doing in the matter of transfers. I am told that since 1902 over £1,000,000 sterling has been subscribed by Churchmen for voluntary schools in this country. I leave out the Roman Catholics and other denominations. We all know that there are cases in which the local authority, perhaps a hostile local authority, has required most costly and difficult changes to be carried out in some voluntary schools. Churchmen in the district have, at immense personal sacrifice, raised the necessary funds, have made the necessary alterations, and acquiesced in the, perhaps, most unreasonable 716 demands of the local authority. I ask hon. Gentlemen opposite what their feelings would be, and appeal to them quite uncontroversially, as men of the world who understand human beings, to say what they would think if money raised at the bidding of the local authority and of the bishops and archbishops in this way, is suddenly confiscated by the local authority itself and put into its own pockets. I appeal to the hon. Member for Morley, whether the Church be right or wrong, whether, while human beings are what they are, it would not be regarded as a most bitter injustice. It is quite true that in the opinion of some persons, and in the opinion of the Archbishop, there are general advantages to the cause of religion and that form of Christianity taught by the Church of England which make up for these local injustices, great as they unquestionably are. But my point is, not what is good for the Church of England as balanced, but that you are starting your so-called compromise by raising so enormous a feeling of grievance among some of those who may be committed to it that you cannot expect them to acquiesce, and that they will not acquiesce. I go from the subscribers to voluntary schools, who are not always large subscribers, to the parents. I again appeal to the hon. Member for Morley to put himself in the position of the parent of a child who has subscribed in quite recent years to a school, because that school is going to teach the denominational religion in which he believes and which is going to belong to his denomination. The Bill passes and the school is transferred to the local authority. He finds that so far from the denomination to which he belongs and for which he has subscribed having any special position in that school it is at a special disadvantage. The child of the parent who does not want denominational education finds everything arranged for him. He has to pay nothing; the headmaster may teach him; all the best rooms of the school are at his disposal. The parent who has subscribed to the making of that school has to go through formularies before he is allowed to have his child taught the religion of the people who made the school. When the religion is being taught 717 him he is given some perfectly insufficient accommodation. He has the knowledge that the State has put its imprimatur on this new form of State religion. He is aware that the headmaster is not, or ultimately will not be allowed to teach him religion, and that he is under a stigma, and he is told that he has to pay for what religious teaching he wants in the school that he has built, while his neighbour's child has the religious teaching he wants without any payment for it at all. That really does not exhaust the hardship which will be felt by these people, because you have taken care that, while making them pay for their religious instruction, not one penny that they do pay is to go into the pocket of the man who gives it. Of course, the local authorities will give the same salaries to every teacher of equal grade in the school, whether he volunteers to teach denominational religion or is asked to give Cowper-Temple teaching. The parent pays the education authority—the representatives of the ratepayers. So that the man who helped to build the school is not only in the inferior position described by the Bill, but has got to help his Cowper-Temple neighbour by lessening his rates in payment for his own denominational teaching. There may well be an answer to that, but does not everybody know that that state of things must produce immense bitterness of feeling among the people whom you want to accept this as a final settlement? I am quite sure that they will not be placated by the extraordinary statement of the Secretary of the Board of Education, who seems to think you may divide a trust into two in some extraordinary manner. If a man gives £10,000 for education to be given in a particular way, you cut it into a bigger and a smaller half, and say: "We take the bigger half. It is true that you gave the whole £10,000,thinking that the education was to be denominational, but the denominational part of £10,000 is only £1,500. We give you that back and keep the £8,500 ourselves." That may be bad law; I am sure it is bad equity; but whether it is good or bad law, it will produce an extroardinary feeling of soreness among the great body of clergy and laity. Do the Government consider that, by their contracting-out, they are doing anything in the world except sowing the seeds of 718 fresh difficulties in the immediate future and making it necessary that the whole scheme should be revised, and, by that fact, destroying all hope of a settlement on which we are all asked to accept a Bill of which none of us approve? I do not know what the Government think they do with regard to the money arrangements. They have not told us whether they are to be modified in Committee, but surely it is relatively immaterial. I do not believe that the denominationalists of this country will ever be content with a system of contracting-out. I think it is possible that here and there an Anglican school in a special position or which wishes to have a special clientele might welcome the arrangement. But it is quite impossible that either the great body of Anglicans or Roman Catholics will either desire to be divorced from the national system or to be asked to be content with a fixed Parliamentary grant in these days when education is increasing in cost from, I might almost say, week to week. I am not going to argue the special estimates of the Roman Catholics. I leave all those details on one side. I am asking the House to consider the bigger questions. But I would remind the House of the preroration of the hon. Gentleman opposite, the Secretary to the Admiralty, in the speech he made last night. He asked the House to pass this Bill in order to get the religious difficulty out of the way and thus free the energies of educational reformers to deal with a long catalogue of important questions which he declared quite truly demand their immediate attention. I would remind him of what three of those great educational interests are. One of them is that the qualification of teachers should be raised. Another is that smaller classes should be adopted in all our elementary schools; and the third is that improved buildings should be provided. Now did it occur to the Secretary to the Admiralty that, while he and his friends are gaily setting to work freed from the pre-occupation of dealing with the religious difficulty, there may be other persons interested in education, like the Roman Catholics, who may be just as anxious for the great reforms of which he spoke as he is? Did it further occur to him that all these reforms are in their essence and nature of the most 719 costly description? Did he remember that you cannot raise the qualifications of the teacher, that you cannot make big classes into small classes, and that you cannot make indifferent buildings into good buildings without an enormous expenditure of money; and where did he think that expenditure of money is to come from? Is it not manifest and plain on the face of it that, if you carry it out, all the schools which contract-out, except the rich and exceptional schools partly supported by large fees and endowments, all the ordinary schools, especially the Roman Catholic schools, because they affect the poorest of the population, will be left behind in this reforming race which the Secretary to the Admiralty desires to run? While he is adding to the qualifications of teachers, improving buildings, and making classes smaller, their buildings will remain the same, their teachers will remain the same, and their classes will remain unchanged. The difference, which will immediately arise between schools which have rates and taxes behind them and schools which have only taxes behind them will be an enormous difference, and what is more, it will be a growing difference. It is a difference which would be aggravated from year to year. I do not see how you are to get over it, and I do not believe mere money can get over it. It is possible that, if the Government have the mines of Eldorado behind them, they may find a contribution from the taxpayer to these denominational schools so great that they might be bribed, as it were, into acquiescence in their severance from the general national system of education. But I doubt it, and I do not believe that in any case you will be able to find the money or, if you do, that you can possibly employ it without creating the grossest inequality, not merely between school and school, but between district and district. Therefore I confess that it seems to me that, if there were no other blot in this Bill, if there were no other ground for thinking that it did not embody within its four corners the elements of a permanent settlement, those difficulties would emerge in the contracting-out clauses in a form so aggravated and so violent that we must all of us abandon the hope that, if we pass this Bill, we have dismissed the 720 problem of elementary education for more than a few months or a few years. Whether you survey the question from the point of view of the establishment of a contract between the various interested parties or whether you consider the nature and the value of the settlement from the point of view of the sentiment which it is going to arouse in the different classes of the population, or whether you regard it from the educational point of view and from the point of view of those who you admit must have special denominational facilities, I am reluctantly driven to the conclusion that in this direction and in this issue peace is not to be found. I think it is a deplorable conclusion. Nobody more deeply regrets it than I do, but I have attempted to deal with it perfectly candidly and clearly, and I think that those who most differ from me will admit that I have not used one single argument which may be described as other than going honestly and straight to the very centre of our difficulties. I should consider myself as paltering with the truth and as deceiving the House, who at all events have a right in this matter to have my innermost thoughts, if I pretended to find in this more than what I do honestly find—that is, a sincere desire on the part of the framers of the Bill to see a way out of the difficulty. I am sure the Government have done their best, and I am sure the bishops have done their best to find some way out. I do not know what has passed between the Government and the Nonconformist divines. I only imperfectly know what has passed between the Government and the Anglican divines; but I am perfectly ready, indeed anxious, to admit that all the parties to this so-called arrangement have done their best to find some way of settling these difficulties. They have, as I think, failed. They have failed, not from want of good will, but from want of an appreciation of what I think is the core of this problem, the central principle to which everybody must strive, if they are not content with the historic compromises of 1870 or 1902. If you dislike my word, I will choose yours—the historic arrangements of 1870 and 1902. When I just now observed parenthetically that I thought equality of treatment between the different denominations was the only 721 ultimate solution of this problem, an hon. Gentleman below the gangway interrupted me and said: "How about the Act of 1902?" I never pretended in 1902, and I have never pretended since 1902, that the inherent illogicalities and, if you will, the injustices of the Act of 1870 were more than mitigated by the Act of 1902. I entirely agree that, if you look on the one side at the single-school area in the country or if you look on the other at those vast urban districts in which there is not a single school where denominational teaching can be given, on whichever side of the picture you look you may say with absolute justice, "Here is an anomalous state of things, which may well require remedy." But the hon. Gentleman who interrupted me must be aware that in this world you must do one of two things. You must build on an historic foundation or you must try to work on fundamental principles. The Act of 1870 itself was only justifiable on historic grounds. The Act of 1902, in so far as it dealt with religion, also was based upon historic grounds, and could be justified upon no other ground, and never was justified upon any other. If you are going to abandon the historic ground, as you are going to do in this Bill; if you are going to say to the Nonconformists, "You must admit denominational teaching in everyone of what used to be called council schools"; if you are going to turn to the Church on the other side and say, "You must give up all the buildings for which you have sacrificed so much"; if you are going to turn to the Roman Catholics and say, "We shall no longer allow you to carry out denominational teaching except under conditions which will make your schools a by-word in education, and will separate you hopelessly from the national system"; you are cutting yourselves adrift from tradition, and I believe you will only find a safe anchorage by trying to go to first principles. The first principle is that we should try to devise a scheme which should treat every man, Nonconformist, Church of England, Roman Catholic, be he what he may, as nearly on an equality as the imperfections of this imperfect world will allow. It is because you have refused to go that length in this Bill that you find yourselves in all the 722 difficulties which surround you—difficulties which are predestined to bring this question again to the front in a very short time. But you will say to me: "Why should this logical and symmetrical system which you propose be more permanent than the imperfect solution offered by the Government or the other imperfect solutions which have preceded it?" The reason is that, if you do put everybody on an equality, you will have established a system which commends itself to every man who tries to consider this thing in the daylight of modern toleration. Every man who refuses to accept equality puts himself out of Court, and his claim will never be listened to. Therefore, I say until you have got that equality you will never have full, perfect, complete, and secure peace in this country. The Government themselves will not pretend that this Bill gives equality. It establishes, rightly or wrongly, but it does establish out of public funds a new religion or a new way of looking at religious truths and of teaching these truths. It ostracises by comparison every other way of looking at religious truths, and so long as that disparity exists your so-called arrangement is destined to crumble within the lifetime of every man to whom I am now speaking. It is for that reason that I would earnestly beg the Government to reconsider the whole method with which they approach this question. I do not believe that my plan would be particularly favourably received by many friends of my own. It involves giving up the Church schools, just as it involves giving up the council schools. It involves one single system, in which everybody would be treated alike. But there is no unpopularity I would not be prepared to undergo in supporting the Government in a scheme which tried at all events to give to the parents of this country the kind of education which they desire for their children. We believe that this House has no business to inquire whether the parents of the children are right or wrong, wise or unwise. There are many people who think that in their own hearts the parents prefer Cowper-Temple teaching to Church teaching or any other form of teaching. If this is so, I am content to abide by the result. 723 But the only principle which can really stand examination, which can be defended on every platform, which would hold water, which would withstand criticism, which is in accordance with all that is best in modern ideas as well as in ancient traditions, is the idea of religious equality, not the spurious form of religious equality which the Government have endeavoured to introduce in this Bill. I congratulate the Government upon the spirit that they have shown on this question. I do so quite honestly and sincerely; and I do not associate myself with those who have criticised the members of the episcopal bench who have perhaps lent themselves occasionally rather rashly to the soft wiles of the Minister for Education. I believe the motives of all concerned have been high motives and good motives; but if I am asked whether, short of the panacea which I have proposed, there is in my judgment any hope of a settlement of this question to be derived from anything which this House can do, I have in all truth, in all sincerity, and with great sorrow, to admit that that is not my conviction.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. ASQUITH, Fifeshire, E.)
I gladly acknowledge that the right hon. Gentleman in the speech which he has made has completely fulfilled the intention which he announced at the outset of avoiding any manifestation either of the spirit of acerbity or of the language of provocation. But none the less I confess to a sense of profound disappointment at the conclusion to which he has felt himself compelled to arrive. I should have been quite content, were it not out of respect to the right hon. Gentleman, to have left the case for the Second Reading of this Bill as it was presented with extraordinary lucidity and persuasiveness last night by my right hon. friend and colleague the President of the Board of Education, to whose tact and judgment and moderation and fine temper it is largely, and so far as the Government is concerned, I may say mainly, indeed exclusively, due that we are able to submit these proposals to the House. As the right hon. Gentleman has said, and said with truth, the debate upon a proposal of this kind necessarily cannot be cast in the dialectical mode of 724 our ordinary party conflicts. I agree with him that this is not a measure which either the Government or any other party in any quarter of the House, if they were acting upon their own initiative, and if they were putting forward proposals which they believed would attain their own ideals, would have submitted to Parliament. And he, if I may venture to say so, quite rightly and quite logically has approached the question from the only point of view which is relevant to a measure submitted under these conditions—namely, not from the point of view of whether it is ideally the best solution of a difficult political problem, but whether it does contain the elements of a reasonable and workable settlement. Upon that point there are, I think, two questions which every one in the House must ask himself. The first question, with which the right hon. Gentleman has dealt very lightly, though I may assume he would have answered it in the affirmative, is this—whether the time has not come when, in the interests of all parties, and above all of that section of the community so much talked about but often so little regarded in this great controversy —namely, the children of England— whether the time has not come when something in the nature of an agreed settlement is not only politic but absolutely necessary? The right hon. Gentleman has said a great deal about the precariousness and the short duration of any settlement that is likely to be attained upon the lines here proposed. Let us look back for a moment upon the past. Look back to the Act of 1870. I am stating, not a matter which is capable of controversy, but a matter of universal acknowledgment among those who are acquainted with history, when I say that the Act of 1870 embodied a compromise, and a compromise which was heartily disliked both upon one side and upon the other. It was not liked by those who represented the Church of England in those days, because, side by side with a voluntary system to which, they had made by far the greatest contribution of any denomination in this country, they saw set up a system of school boards, and in the schools provided by the school boards under the Cowper-Temple clause sectarian teaching at the expense of 725 the rates was excluded altogether. It was equally disliked by the Nonconformists; and I do not think there is any historical fact better attested in our electoral history than that it was largely due to the resentment of the Nonconformists at what they conceived to be their betrayal by the leaders of the Liberal Party at that day, that the great defeat of Mr. Gladstone in 1874 was due. Well, there was a settlement, or a compromise rather—I will not call it a settlement—which started with just the same drawbacks and disadvantages— more accentuated, more acute, and much more inflamed in point of passion and temper—as the proposals which the Government is now submitting to the House. But what was the result? I am not exaggerating when I say that for twenty years it produced something in the nature of educational peace. It brought about a co-operation, nowhere more remarkably exhibited than in the School Board for London, between Nonconformists and Churchmen working together, in which they combined their energies and sank their differences, and as far as possible helped to promote the development of the educational interests of the children. If that took place in 1870 under conditions such as I have described, are we too sanguine —are we the victims of an untenable and unjustifiable credulity—if we suggest that to-day people, none of whom in themselves and by themselves, would have selected this particular via media that we are submitting to the House, may, working in the same spirit, and with the same honest desire for peace and for educational efficiency, attain, at any rate, another truce which may last perhaps an equally long time? Because what has been the history of the last ten years? I will not go into the question of how it was, both upon one side and upon the other, that in the course of time defects in the settlement of 1870 developed themselves and became more and more apparent, were felt more and more acutely, and produced on the one side the Nonconformist discontent at the condition of things prevailing, particularly in the rural schools, and the discontent on the part of Churchmen In regard to the state of things in particular which prevailed in the urban 726 districts. The fact is, whatever be its historical explanation, we have now been suffering, for more than ten years, from a condition of educational warfare. There was the Bill of 1896, the Act of 1897, the Act of 1902, and all the turmoil and controversy which has gone on in connection with the successive Bills which the present Government have introduced; and, after twenty years of comparative peace, we have had twelve or thirteen years of unsettlement, warfare, turbulence, and no progress. Would it not be the duty of any responsible Government—I do not care to what party they belonged, or what their educational tendencies and desires might be—to try and devise some means by which another truce could be arrived at, a fresh period of educational peace entered upon, and the while energies of the persons engaged in this great domain of social and philanthropic activities concentrated, not upon the points upon which they differed but upon the points upon which they ought to be at one? That, at all events, appeared to me, long before I held my present office, but particularly since I held it, to be the first object which any Government of this country ought to aim at. We may fail. Well, I would rather fail in the attempt to obtain peace on reasonable terms than not to have made the attempt at all. This is not an occasion on which we desire to draw the ordinary weapons of party warfare. I believe there is an honest desire on both sides of the House—nowhere more clearly manifested than in the speech of the light hon. Gentleman—to devise a way. But I quite agree that that does not exonerate me and my colleagues from the obligation to show that in the proposal which, under very unusual conditions, we are submitting to the House there is a reasonable prospect of attaining such a settlement. What are the conditions? Surely I shall carry everybody with me when I say that the conditions of a durable settlement in a matter of this kind are that upon be the sides there should be a surrender of what is secondary and subordinate, without any sacrifice of what is primary and fundamental. I quite agree that unless the settlement—I do not say in all its details, but in its broad and general outlines—conforms to that condition, it is 727 not one which should be pressed upon Parliament, and which Parliament should be asked to accept. What are the right hon. Gentleman's objections to the proposals which we have brought forward? In the first place he says—Who are the parties to your agreement; are they plenipotentiaries; have they power to bind those in the country whom they assume to represent; and are they really at one? I think that is a misconception of the situation. This Bill is not put forward as a request to Parliament to ratify an already concluded treaty between sovereign powers; nothing of the kind. What happened was this, that the Government, through informal communications with the representatives of Nonconformity on the one hand, with the highest authorities in the Anglican Church upon the other, and with some communications—not so frequent and continued as I should have liked—with the representatives of the Roman Catholic Church—the Government, without pretending for a moment that these various parties had entered into a deed or agreement, signed, sealed, and delivered, thought they had come sufficiently near —within a measurable and approximate distance of one another—so that they themselves might take the responsibility of putting down on paper proposals which they thought might meet with general agreement, and this Bill represents that i attempt. The right hon. Gentleman seems to think that the Nonconformists whom we consulted probably exceeded their authority; that the Bishops, in the course which they took, had no power to bind the clergy; and that the Roman Catholics were altogether left out of account. That would be a very relevant criticism if we were putting forward this Bill as an absolute concluding settlement. But the question is whether, having regard to all that has passed, Parliament may not itself say: "These people ought to have agreed, or, at least, we ought to lay down in an Act of Parliament, the terms upon which the question in future shall be settled, because the points which separate them are of so comparatively small importance, and the gap between the one and the other is so easily capable of being bridged by bringing common sense to bear that there is really no excuse for their not 728 agreeing." I would like to say one word about the Roman Catholics. The right hon. Gentleman has used language which I was sorry to hear. He said this Bill had been denounced by those representing the Roman Catholic Church as an outrage upon their faith. There is not a Roman Catholic in this House but knows perfectly well this Bill is not put forward in that sprit or with that intention. There is the provision for contracting out. We regret that—I think everyone regrets it—and would rather see a universal national system in which every school was subject to the same conditions. The system of contracting out proposed in this Bill, of which it is believed the Roman Catholic Church will largely take advantage, is a system which prevails largely in Scotland. It is a system of which we in Scotland, and I speak as a Scottish Member, have never complained. We are not sufficiently liberally treated in Scotland, certainly, but that is a point for accommodation and adjustment and is not a question of principle. The sum now actually paid out of State grant in respect of Roman Catholic children in Scotland is about 40s. per head. Under this Bill it will be about 50s. per head. Therefore, for the right hon. Gentleman to tell us, in regard to this Bill, that a proposal of this sort can be regarded by Catholics as an outrage upon their feelings is, I venture to say, an abuse of Parliamentary language. I pass to what will be gained by the other two parties. We have the Nonconformists on the one side, and the Church of England on the other. Let me for a few minutes put down the two sides of the account, the gain on the one side and the loss on the other, as if it were a question of debtor and creditor, and we were constructing a balance-sheet. What do the Nonconformists gain? In the first place, they gain complete popular control wherever rate-aid is given and untested teachers. They gain, in the second place, complete prohibition of rate-aid for sectarian teaching. In these two things they have gained in essence and in substance what we pledged ourselves to obtain. On the other hand, what does the Church of England gain? The Church of England, in the first place, gains the thing for which her 729 advocates in this House have striven strenuously and persistently ever since I have been here. The Church of England gains the right to follow her children with her own definite, dogmatic teaching into the provided schools of the country. As the hon. Member for Oxford University said last night, the value of that right depends upon the use which the Church of England makes of it. But I venture here strongly to protest against the notion that there is anything in this Bill which is intended to make that right of entry anything in the nature of an illusory or a nugatory right. I think a fear was expressed that in order to exercise that right clergymen would have to go through formularies, and that in some way or another they would be embarrassed and impeded in the exercise of that right which the law will give. That is not the intention. They have only to write their name on a bit of paper and the thing is done. Anything simpler or more effective for the purpose we, at any rate, have not been able to devise. If it can be shown in Committee that there is anything in the clause which requires greater simplicity and clearness, we shall be ready to consider it. The only condition attached to this right of entry—most offensive as it has always been regarded, and must be regarded, not only by Nonconformists, but by persons specially interested in education, and by none more so than the teachers—the only conditions by which we propose to fetter its exercise are the necessary safeguards for due order and the proper conduct of the school. The Archbishop of Canterbury himself in the published correspondence has admitted, and very properly admitted, that any such right must be granted subject to the necessary administrative conditions, and those are the only conditions that will be imposed. Then, what is the other gain? I will not here speak about the head teacher, although that is a point to which great importance is attached, but it is a temporary arrangement, and I am now speaking of permanent gains. In all but single-school areas, where the Church wishes to preserve, or to bring into existence, schools of her own type, where the teacher will be chosen by members of the religious denomination 730 itself, subject to any tests they may see fit to impose, and where the curriculum of the school in regard to religious teaching will be such in all respects as the authorities of the Church in the locality desire, she will be able to do so, not at the expense of the rates, but with a liberal provision out of the public Exchequer. There are two considerations laid down in the correspondence between the Archbishop and myself on this point. The one was, what I was ready to concede, that in the provision made for these schools they should be given "a reasonable chance," I think was the phrase used, of existence. The other was a condition to which the Archbishop was quite ready to subscribe—namely, that at the same time a substantial part of the expenses of carrying on the schools should be borne by the denomination. I am not going into the question now, because it is a question for the Committee stage of the Bill, of whether these conditions have been actually carried out in the provision made in the schedule of the Bill. We believe that they have been. But I must enter a passing protest against the language used by the right hon. Gentleman just now in his denunciations of this part of the Bill. This provision of contracting out is not new. It was proposed, as every one will remember, in the Bill of 1906. At that time the provision proposed to be made for the contracting out schools was very substantially less than the provision which we are proposing in this Bill, and the right hon. Gentleman himself told us on 24th July, 1906, in the debate on the contracting out Amendment:That a peaceful settlement of the question was to be found in the direction of accepting this Amendment rather than rejecting it.Having taken up that attitude in 1906, the right hon. Gentleman could not now say there was anything objectionable in point of principle to contracting-out.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
All I did was to say that I preferred the Amendment to the Bill. I thought the Amendment improved the Bill, and that, as compared with the Bill, it made for peace.
§ MR. ASQUITH
To use the right hon. Gentleman's own analogy, he was 731 in the position of the man who was given his choice of being drowned or hanged, and who said he preferred neither. We have reached the stage now at which we must, all of us, make a certain surrender in matters of this kind. None of us can pursue exactly the line he would like to. The right hon. Gentleman chose the contracting-out Amendment rather than the Bill of 1906, as being more likely to lead to peace. I have tried briefly to summarise what I have called the balance-sheet between Nonconformists on the one side, and the Church of England on the other. Does it not contain the basis of a reasonable settlement? I must add, though we are now on Second Reading, that an arrangement of this kind is in its nature of such a character that you cannot—when you come to deal with its details as we shall presently in Committee—treat it as though each part was separable and independent. You can very easily upset the balance, and when you have upset the balance and destroyed the equilibrium' the whole thing is gone. I say that, of course, as the House will readily understand, without prejudice to the fullest right and opportunity for discussion of the details in Committee but only to make it clear that the Government are submitting the thing as a whole in the belief that each side is giving up a great deal, and, on the other hand, that each side is receiving some substantial equivalent. Surely after these ten or twelve years of tumult and controversy we may without any sacrifice of honour or principle, either upon one side or upon the other, fitly bring to a conclusion the labours of an unusually arduous and exceptionally combative session by giving, with something like general consent, to the educational system of this country, for the first time for many years, the chance of a life of real efficiency and peace.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said this was a question on which they had had during the last ten years a conflict of the most extraordinary character among all parties in the House. In the year 1902, he himself voted side by side with the Member for Morley and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, against some of the provisions of the Act of that year. In 1906, he found himself with his colleagues on 732 these benches dividing against those two hon. Members, who opposed the Act of that year; and now in 1908 he found himself again with the hon. Member for Morley opposing this Bill. He thought one ought to draw from these extraordinary and kaleidoscopic changes in parties and individual Members of the House in the course of these controversies on the education question the lesson that it was wise not to use too bitter language, because they might find themselves next year side by side with the very men who were opposing this Bill. They had heard one of the foremost champions of the Church in that House in his zeal denouncing the bishops of his own Church as having been traitors to the cause. The noble Lord the Member for Marylebone had declared his incapacity to follow the twistings and turnings of the episcopal mind. The hon. Member for North West Manchester had declared that the Churchmen of Lancashire would not allow themselves to be ridden down by any body of bishops. That was another instance of the extraordinary effect of this controversy on the minds of hon. Members. The Member for Morley, in moving the rejection of the Bill, drew a terrible and lurid picture of the consequences which would happen to him and to his friends and to all that Nonconformists held most dear, if the Bill were passed into law. He said that the consequence of the admission of the clergy to the provided schools of the county councils would be most disastrous, and that the Nonconformists of England were now called upon to surrender all that they had fought for during the last ten years, and the worst and bitterest thing of all was that this surrender came not with a great party defeat, but with an unparalleled party victory. His old friend, Mr. Hirst Hollowell, had used this extraordinary language—that the acceptance of a scheme like this would turn the Liberal Party into a clerical party, and thus prepare the way for its fall and obscuration. Speaking of Clause 4 of the Chief Secretary's Bill of 1906, a clause by the way which both the hon. Member and his friends helped largely to wreck, he said that that unfortunate clause would have made sectarian schools more sectarian still, but the present proposals would admit sectarian creeds into nearly 7,000 schools, 733 which up to this day had been absolutely free from sectarian instruction. There was a great deal of truth in these two statements, and in his opinion, which might be of some worth, as he had followed this controversy as closely as any man in that House, the Nonconformists were asked under this Bill to surrender a great deal more than they were asked to surrender under the Bill of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. In regard to Clause 4 of the Bill of 1906, it was the hon. Member for Morley who was largely responsible for the destruction of that provision, and who said that those for whom he spoke would not tolerate its re-introduction. That was not the advice some of them had urged upon hon. Members when they were in opposition; and Members of the Irish Party felt that if the Bill, as finally agreed upon, had been brought up again in January or February of 1907, and sent to the House of Lords with a majority of 340, because Irish Members on those benches would have supported it, they would not have had the difficulties which confronted them now. They would have come fresh from the constituencies with a mandate on this subject, and they would have been in a position to teach the Lords a lesson which certainly was a good deal wanted. The Member for Morley himself was one of the chief instruments in wrecking that settlement.
§ MR. ALFRED HUTTON (Yorkshire, W. R., Morley)
said this was the first time he had heard it suggested that the Bill of his right hon. friend the Chief Secretary was to be reintroduced.
§ MR. DILLON
said he had suggested publicly in that House more than once, that the Bill should be again introduced, and he believed that the Bill would have been re-introduced but for the fact that the Nonconformists of this country would not tolerate it. That was his view and he remembered that he was laughed at when he ventured to say to some of his friends on the opposite benches, who were somewhat bitter in the controversy, that they might go farther and fare worse. His words had come true. They had gone further and they had farad worse, at least in their own judgment. The hon. Member for Den- 734 bigh District, who seconded the Motion for the rejection of this Bill, said, he thought, perfectly truly, that one of the chief grounds of objection to it was that it would introduce into the schools of this country a totally new system, and one entirely inconsistent with and destructive of one of the main principles of the Liberal Party, namely, a system of endowed religion. For the first tine the Liberal Party was proposing to endow a system of religious teaching, to establish it, and to make it absolutely compulsory. He did not wish to use any language that would be considered offensive. Far from it. But he found an expression used by a man whose name would carry great weight, the Rev. Scott Lidgett, President of the Wesleyan Conference, who had taken a great interest in this subject. He was a supporter of this compromise although he objected and always had objected to the right of entry, but he was reconciled because Cooper-Templeism would be the established religion of the national schools. That he should say, was his expression, not his own, and he thought it was an unfortunate expression. Let him give this warning. They could not get a settlement of this question by a process which established one form of religious teaching, which passed over and made them pay, or made the people for whom he was speaking pay, for the religious teaching, which placed the religions teaching, which they considered essential to their religious convictions, in an inferior position, and told them then that they must pay for it them-selves. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman who seconded the motion for the rejection of the Bill, that it was a principle hopelessly at variance with their long declared principles of Liberal policy. He recalled the fact that as a strong friend and advocate of friendly compromise upon this question he came to that conclusion long ago when listening to the debates in 1906 and 1907. He came to the conclusion that there could be no settlement of this particular question which was the result of a party victory. Why? Because they could not settle such questions without taking into account the religious and conscientious convictions of the people whose interests were dealt with. If they tried 735 it, it would be a signal for war, and, therefore, he had always felt that except by mutual concession it could never be settled. He therefore, would naturally be a strong friend, as he had proved to his detriment sometimes, of a settlement by compromise, so that if he could see his way to do so, he would gladly support this compromise. He remembered a conversation he had with the late Cardinal Vaughan in 1908. He differed from him very strongly upon the line of the policy he was adopting, and told him that if he persisted upon that line of policy, two things would happen, either he would end in securing a settlement driving religious teaching out of the schools altogether, or, as he thought more likely, there would be a Protestant settlement behind their backs, leaving Catholics out in the cold. Now that was what had happened. He foresaw that for years. Why? Anyone who studied these debates carefully ought, he thought, to have arrived at that conclusion. He saw that, although there was bitterness on this subject between the occupants of the benches on either side of the House, there was no difference of principle. Although Churchmen and Nonconformists were strongly divided in their views on some points, they were not really irreconcilable. They did not object to Cowper-Templeism. They did not object to Cowper-Temple teaching and they knew that many members of the Church party regarded Cowper-Temple teaching as most excellent Protestant teaching. Of course that immediately divided them from Catholics by an impassable gulf. He did not say that they might not be able to carry on many of these controversies, but he always foresaw that there was a great danger that both sides would agree to a settlement to which Catholics were not party at all. That was exactly what had happened, and when the Prime Minister said that this was the result of a conference, he must say that the Catholics were not really consulted, and that they were not in any sense or degree a party to the present settlement. He c id not want to introduce any recrimination, bitterness, or provocation. There had been a great deal too much of that. While he could not for a 736 moment accept the Bill as fair or tolerant to Catholics, he saw in it a clear proof of an earnest desire on the part of the Government according to their lights to do something for the Catholics, but their lights were insufficient. The Catholics were not a party to the negotiations. In the first place he attached very great importance to the provision allowing them to build their new schools, which was a great and burning question. Also he attached great importance to allowing their children so far as working centres and medical inspection were concerned inside the national system. He attached great importance to the provision allowing the Catholic teachers to remain inside the national system so far as pension privileges were concerned. But admitting all their improvements in the Bill and also the small increase in the grant, the arrangement was one which the Catholics could not accept. To come to the kernel of the whole situation, here was a passage from the last letter from the Minister for Education in his correspondence with the Archbishop—We have endeavoured to frame a scale of grants to the contracted-out schools so that they should be given a reasonable chance of existence, but of course we have always held and expressed the view that where the owners of schools desired to retain the management and patronage in their own hands, they must make a substantial contribution for the privilege.That was where they took their stand and differed totally from the view of the Government. Evidently the idea had got embedded in the mind of the Government that they regarded it as a privilege to remain outside the national system. For years they had claimed their right to come into it, and if they were to be put outside the national system it was an outrageous proposition that an indefensible and impossible position to take up that they were to pay for the privilege. It was useless to argue—he did not know that the Secretary for Education would argue—that no scheme could be devised which would meet Catholic consciences and allow them to come into the national system. He was estopped from that argument because his own Government had devised a scheme in the Chief Secretary's Bill which they, on behalf of the Catholics of this country, had accepted. 737 Therefore it could never be said again truthfully that if they were put out of the national system they were accorded a privilege for which they were to be called upon to pay.
§ MR. BYLES (Salford, N.)
I wish to understand the hon. Gentleman's point of view. Does he not regard it as a privilege that the Church to which he belongs should have the appointment of teachers and be exempt from many of the restrictions which are imposed on provided schools?
§ MR. DILLON
said he did not when it was combined with expulsion from the national system. They had accepted Clause 4 of the Bill of 1906, which brought them into the national system and gave the appointment of teachers to the public body, thereby getting rid of the whole of this unfortunate system of contracting-out which was condemned by every educationist. The National Union of Teachers were strongly against it, the Catholic teachers were all up in revolt against it, and there was not a single teacher in Ireland who supported contracting-out, and yet they were told they were to pay for the privilege of being expelled. He hoped he had disposed once for all of that argument. He wished earnestly to remove from the minds of the Government the idea that they would ever consider it a privilege to be allowed to contract-out, but they preferred to contract-out on reasonably fair terms rather than have their schools completely taken away and destroyed. He had been engaged in very hot controversy over this question, but he was not one of those who had engaged in any mud slinging at the Nonconformists. He had always insisted that among them were some of the best friends they had, who had put a severe strain on their conscientious convictions in order to meet them, and they had good reason to know that in the course of the debates on the Irish University Bill the hon. Member for North-West Norfolk and other Nonconformists saw that Bill through when, if they had given way to their prepossessions, the Bill would never have lived. The hon. Member who, he knew, was sincerely desirous of meeting them, said: "When the demand is made in a 738 Protestant country for Catholic schools for Catholic children taught by Catholic teachers at the public expense, this is a demand which connot be met." First of all he asked why not? The demand was met frankly and fully long ago in Germany, which was one of the few countries in Europe where there was no educational war of any kind. Had it ever occurred to hon. Members opposite to ask why Germany was so far ahead in matters of education? They got rid of religious controversy years ago by a frankly denominational system, meeting all the demands of the Catholics, Protestant country though she was. It lay upon the hon. Member to explain why he took up that position. Protestants had always professed to set up Protestantism as synonymous with civil and religious liberty. Were they prepared to prove that in connection with this Bill? It was no use appealing to foreign countries. The question was what were they prepared to do? When they applied the criterion of actuality of facts to the statement of the hon. Member for North-West Norfolk they found they were, by contracting-out, providing for Catholic schools and Catholic children by Catholic teachers at public expense. They were doing the very thing that he said could not be done. They were giving away the principle absolutely. They recognised that in this Protestant country they must provide Catholic schools for the Catholic children, but they were fining the parents and punishing the children and the teachers by putting the brand of inferiority upon them and giving them smaller salaries because they adhered to their religious convictions. If these Catholic children went into the board schools, immediately they got into a better atmosphere. There was better provision for them and larger salaries for the teachers, and by getting a better class of men they acted on the children at once. But they were not maintaining any principle. They admitted that this was a case which was affected by the Bill and by the whole course of policy of the Government, but they said: "Yes; we shall allow Catholic schools for Catholic children, but they must be inferior schools, and the children and the teachers must suffer." When it was put in that way, and that was the true way to put the 739 case, it was absolutely indefensible. It could not stand. And of course the case was made much stronger by the fact that this prescription of inferiority was levelled against the poorest part of the population. There were a good many Anglican schools to whom the privilege of charging fees might be an alleviation of contracting-out, because in some districts, and in one or two Catholic schools, perhaps, the charging of fees was a rather popular thing. It might seem strange, but it was so. But in nine-tenths of the Catholic schools the privilege of charging fees was simply a mockery and only increased the outrage of driving them out of the national system by saying to the poorest people of the country: "You may pay for your children in the schools if you choose, but all the children of those who are better off than yourselves will get free education because they are not Catholics, and have no conscientious difficulty in the matter." In his opinion this provision for contracting-out was absolutely indefensible, and was, as clearly as anything could be, a penalty on people for religious convictions. As long as that was maintained it was idle to talk to him of a settlement. He had always preached to his people that they ought to seek for a settlement, and above all a settlement through the Liberal Party. He had been denounced up hill and down dale by great ecclesiastics and by members of his own church in this country for preaching that doctrine. He had always said that if they got a settlement from the Liberal and the Nonconformist parties it would be permanent, whereas a settlement from the Conservative party might be good for a time but would be upset whenever the Liberals came into office. That was why he thought a settlement from the Liberal Party would be more likely to be lasting, and that was the reason why he supported the settlement of 1906. He preached the doctrine of compromise in 1902 because he thought it would have been infinitely better for the Conservative party and the Church party to have compromised this matter when they were in power, when they would have secured better terms than they were getting now. That view, however, was not listened to at the time, with the result that they had been driven 740 to their present position. He had been looking at an interesting Return published that morning giving the figures for all the counties, county boroughs, and London, of the cost per head, and he had calculated what the Catholic share would be under the Schedule. They were offered an average grant of 49s. 6d., and he fully recognised what had been said about the pooling system. Taking London the amount was 94s. as compared with 49s. for the Catholic schools. That was to say, the Catholic schools lost £2 5s. per head per child.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION (Mr. RUNCIMAN, Dewsbury)
Will the hon. Member kindly state what that 94s. includes?
§ MR. RUNCIMAN
If the hon. Member will look on page 2 he will find a large number of items of expenses and maintenance in the 94s. which will not necessarily fall on the other schools to which he refers.
§ MR. DILLON
said he suspected those charges were not very heavy. Supposing, however, they made an allowance. The figures for London gave 94s. 3d., which represented a loss of 44s. 9d., but he would place it at £2 per head per child in Catholic schools. Did any reasonable man propose that in the poorest schools in London, except the Jewish schools, it was fair to start them on their new career with a dead deficiency of £2 per head per child? Taking a Catholic school in London with 1,000 children it meant a loss of £2,000 a year, and yet they were expected to compete with other schools getting the full grant. This gap would go on increasing, and such a system was really inconceivable and impossible. The right hon. Gentleman sought to show that the pooling arrangement would do very much for them, but he very much doubted it, because it would apply mainly to Catholic schools in the large county boroughs. In Liverpool the grant was 74s. 6d., but the Catholic schools received only 49s. 6d., leaving a deficiency of 25s. 10d. per child. If 741 they took off the 4s., that left a deficiency of 21s. In Manchester the grant was 70s. 6d., the Catholic grant being 49s. 6d., leaving a deficiency of 21s. Every one of the great centres where the Catholic schools were situated would be severely hit. He took it that this Bill was a decree of destruction against those schools. He could not believe that the Government realised what they were doing when they embarked on this principle. Finally, he desired to make an earnest appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite to draw a lesson of toleration from what had occurred during the past few months. They might have had the Bill of 1906 if they had met the Catholics in a proper and fairer spirit, and that would have saved them altogether the invasion of their board schools which was now proposed. The other night they heard the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Oxford University making a most remarkable declaration which had influenced many Anglicans in this country. He said that there was hardly a week passed when they had not read of Anglican schools being transferred to the public authority, and he further declared that the Anglican schools were a diminishing and dwindling quantity, whilst the board schools were rapidly increasing. He had no such complaint to make, because the Catholics never transferred a school. They had never read of a Catholic school being transferred, and Catholic schools were not a diminishing quantity. Catholics were fighting for a great principle, and they would stick to their present lines as long as they could. He asked the right hon. Gentleman in the interval between now and the Committee stage to see whether the Government could not devise some means of allowing the Catholic schools to remain inside the national system on the terms that were offered them by the Government of 1906.
§ MR. ELLIS (Nottinghamshire, Rushcliffe)
said he was sure the hon. Member for East Mayo would allow him to say that it had been his lot to listen to the speech he had just made more than once. That, however, did not diminish its force, and he quite recognised the Catholic position. He was rather 742 astonished to hear the hon. Member say that there was a better atmosphere in council than in Catholic schools.
§ MR. ELLIS
said it had been his lot to accompany Catholic priests into their schools, and no one appreciated more than he did the self-sacrificing; efforts of his Roman Catholic fellow subjects to preserve their schools. He had always said that Roman Catholics in this matter were in an exceptional position. It was true that they had preserved their schools, but relatively to the total number, the children in the Roman Catholic schools were a diminishing quantity. Out of 7,000,000 children in average attendance in the schools of this country there were little more than 250,000 in Roman Catholic-schools. Therefore, the matter came quite within reasonable compass and he was prepared to be not only just but generous as regards finance for educational efficiency. He had listened with a little-regret to what had fallen from the Leader of the Opposition. It was true that the right hon. Gentleman said that he did not speak for the whole of the party which he led in this House. As he listened to the right hon. Gentleman conjuring up all sorts of evils he could not help reflecting how little they were in accord with the real facts of the case as he knew them in urban and in country districts. He remembered very well in the debates on the Bill of 1902 asking the Leader of the Opposition whether he had ever sat upon a local education authority in his life, and whether he had really taken any part in the practical administration of our educational system. The right hon. Gentleman admitted at once that that had not been his lot, and it was a great deal owing to that defect that the right hon. Gentleman had spoken in the way he had done in this debate. The right hon. Gentleman had drawn a terrible picture of a parent subscribing to the erection of a particular school to secure that his child should be taught in his own faith and then finding his child relegated to some dark and inconvenient room to receive religious instruction. The right hon. Gentleman 743 had drawn an alarmist picture of what was going to happen. They all knew very well that common sense, fair play, generosity, and practical acquaintance with life on the spot which the local authorities possessed would not permit anything of that kind to happen. He welcomed very warmly and heartily from the bottom of his heart the change of tone which had come over the debate this year, yesterday, and so far as the debate had proceeded that night, as contrasted with what he could recollect in previous years on the educational controversy. He believed there was no subject in regard to which the people outside were more sick of hearing the House of Commons occupied in than educational debate. He approached the matter in the spirit so well laid down by the Bishop of Southwark. He said—We are in the position of men who have battled long, and fought for our principles hard, against opponents who have done the like. We have grown in the process more sure of the truth and consistency of our convictions. But so, we observe, have they. Perhaps we have both learnt that there are strong points in the other's case. And now the time has come, and the moment (perhaps a brief one) is here, when both charity and wisdom invite us to remember that there are some controversies which can never be fought out to an end; that when a question becomes really national, a national solution cannot tally with, or even fully embrace, partial claims; that principles need not be forgotten because they are not driven up to the hilt; and that a particular controversy, however important, must be handled, with a view to the interests of the larger life amidst which it occurs.These words might well be the keynote of those who supported this Bill and the compromise which lay in it. When the arrangement was made in 1870 Nonconformists did not like a great deal that was contained in the Act of that year, but as time went on the common sense of the local authorities in the different localities enabled them to work the measure beneficially and with a success quite different from that prophesied when it was passing through the House of Commons. In the debates which took place then all sorts of evils were prophesied, but these evils did not occur when the Act came to be administered by the people in the localities. The same thing would take place if this Bill became law. The Loader of the Opposition had that day 744 foretold difficulties which would happen from the passing of the Bill, but he did not think they were likely to arise in actual working. He believed that if throughout England the system of establishing a school board in every parish had been followed they might have had in this country locally elected bodies administering education as satisfactorily as in Scotland, where, under the Act of 1872, the school board system was general. In England since 1870 there had been two systems running and the position had become more and more involved. The question came to be whether the Church schools should come on the rates. Everyone could foresee what would result if they did. The the Archbishop of Canterbury said he was perfectly certain that if the Church of England schools accepted aid from the rates, public control would follow. Facts and figures were all one way in this matter. A Return was issued the other day which was very significant. Taking the two school years 1901–2 and 1906–7, the total number of school places in the first period were 6,726,000, and of these 3,723,000 were in denominational schools, or 56 per cent. of the whole. In 1906–7 the proportion had fallen to 49 per cent., there being a greater number of places in council schools. The figures of attendance were more striking. In the first period 46 per cent. of the children at school were in council schools, and in the latter period 54 per cent. The denominational element in our system was diminishing, both actually and relatively. Under these circumstances the question was whether it was wise to go into this compromise or settlement. From his point of view the question of public control was the fundamental and vital matter. He once committed himself in this House to the statement that he would even give up the Cowper-Temple clause if necessary, to secure popular control. By the Bill now before the House they were extending the system of popular control and they were also maintaining the Cowper-Temple clause. He wished to say a word about the secular solution. On that subject his hon. friend the Member for Leicester made an interesting speech. Lord Hugh Cecil had committed himself to the statement that any Government that 745 proposed to abolish the Bible and religion from the people's schools in this country, would not be allowed to exist. The hon. Member knew very well that such a proposal would not be approved by the people of Leicester. There had been a school board system in Leicester which was appreciated by the people there and they were abundantly satisfied with it. If the hon. Member attempted to define secularism, he would find it as difficult as would be the effort to define socialism. Both meant different things to different people, and they were not within the range of practical politics. The people of this country were not so doctrinal as was sometimes supposed. They were profoundly religious, and he believed the wished it to be the basis of the education of their children. But a religious atmosphere in the schools did not necessarily simply the recital of creeds. The unseen verities in which most of them in this House believed were too deep and too sacred to be always put in terms of human speech. Therefore, he for one would resist to the utmost the idea of banishing the Bible and simple Bible-teaching from the schools. They were under obligation to those Gentlemen on both sides who with assiduity had considered this question and arrived at a concordat. In commercial matters he had always held that there was no such thing as a good bargain unless it was good for both sides. He did not believe in one man getting the better of another, and so in the great matter of national education, he welcomed, and was grateful for, the spirit shown by those who had conducted the negotiations. He believed they had arrived in this great matter of national education at the golden moment, and he earnestly hoped that the House of Commons would not allow this session to close without being able to say that this statute was a statute of the realm.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
said he wished to begin his observations with a word of personal explanation. He did so the more readily because the last time he intervened in a somewhat similar debate he was told by the President of the Board of Trade that his recent connection with the Government rather limited his 746 freedom. He might be assumed to be in an even more delicate position now than he was in connection with the matter to which his right hon. friend referred. He had been in all the educational controversies of this Parliament, and his name was on the back of three Bills. If he said a word against the principle embodied in those Bills he would do so unconsciously and against his will. He was in favour of all they contained, and his friendliness to the Government's proposals up to the present had not changed one whit. He thought the first Bill of 1906 was a good Bill, and if his Nonconformist friends had stretched their consciences sufficiently to accept it, they would have escaped with one-tenth of the concessions which they would have to make if this Bill were carried into law. The atmosphere was full of conciliation. He had been a man of conciliation from the first. He had often spoken on education questions, and he had never said a single offensive word as to any creed represented in the House. It was his desire to arrive at a settlement by a process of give and take and conciliation—one which could be adopted without sacrifice of vital principles. With great heartiness he welcomed, the speech of the Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman said, in answer to a question of the Leader of the Opposition, that the Bill was one which could hardly be pressed if a strong feeling in opposition to it was developed. A little later the Prime Minister said that they should not take it that a complete settlement of the question could be arrived at. However, in the beginning of his last speech the right hon. Gentle man intimated that the Committee stage would not be a farce, but that reasoned Amendment would be considered. He thought that this was much more satisfactory than certain remarks made by the right hon. Gentleman who was in charge of the Bill, who said that they should not disturb the equilibrium of the settlement, or the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury who described it as a "balanced settlement." He also welcomed the speeches of the Leader of the Opposition and of other hon. Members opposite. In fact, everybody seemed to be full of the spirit of peace and of a desire for a settlement of this 747 long discussed question. That was his own feeling; but that must not prevent theim from examining this question in a friendly spirit. He must say that the suddenness with which the present situation had come upon them and upon the country appalled him. He understood that the excuse of the Government was that this question was extraordinarily difficult and that they were bound to sacrifice something in order to solve it. It was right to point out that all the difficulties were not inherent in the question itself, nor was it solely due to the tyranny of the Opposition. He thought it must be admitted that the Government had had a great deal of trouble in the Education Department. There had been constant changes made. He was very glad to hear that his hon. friend the Member for Denbigh, in his speech the previous night, did not make the slightest criticism upon the permanent officials of the Department who had had such an amount of work thrown upon them. He was sure he would command the assent of everyone on the front bench when he said that no officials could do more to carry out all the wishes of the Government now in power than the permanent officials of the Department had done. A terrible burden had been cast upon them especially in connection with the last settlement, as was shown by the published correspondence. With regard to the politicians, of course, they deserved, in a sense, all that was said about them, and he thought that all the changes that had been made were perfectly agreeable to those subjected to them. But he believed these changes must have interfered with the attempts to secure a settlement of the question. His right hon. friend the present Minister for Education had not had quite fair play. He had only been in that office a few months when he had to bring in this Bill, but, though so young, they all desired to acknowledge his great abilities. There had not only been a change in persons, but a charge in principles. He had been astonished at a speech made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in April last. In that speech the right hon. Gentleman said—I met a bishop down in Wales the other day and he said to me: 'Cannot we settle this 748 question?' and I said to him: 'Why, certainly.' And so the bishop brought some of his clergy and I brought some of my Nonconformist friends and there we would have settled everything, only some busy bodies interfered.He could not help asking himself when that conversation with the bishop took place? He remembered in 1902 the right hon. Gentleman shaking his finger at the present Leader of the Opposition, and warning him against going buccaneering with the bishops. He also remembered an occasion in 1906 when his right hon. friend tapped the box on the Table and shouted—Clericism is the enemy.And now he said, "What is the good of embittering the quarrel; cannot we get to business"? It might be said: "Why recall these things? The men who then carried the sword and heaved the bricks are now for peace." He fully agreed, but he only wanted to point out that such men did not always make very good conciliators. They were too violent at one stage and went too far in the other direction at the text. So, his right hon. friends might have gone too far in the Settlement of this education question and given away vital principles, the loss of which those for whom they spoke would for ever regret. He wanted to look at this matter in a businesslike way. Let them ask What was the principle of the Bill? It was quite different from that of the last Bill. There was a talk of its carrying over the last Bill with a few Amendments, but that was absurd. The last Bill contained six clauses printed on five pages; this Bill consisted of twelve clauses and covered ten pages of print. Therefore, it could not be called an Amendment of the old Bill. The principle of the Bill might be stated thus: to introduce sectarian teaching into council schools and to abolish the religious settlement of 1870. He need not take the two things separately because they were both the same. He wanted to say a word or two on behalf of the settlement, of 1870. His right hon. friend the Member for Rushcliffe said that that was a splendid settlement and he exclaimed: "Look how successful it has been!" And then his argument was: "Let us sweep it away." That was not his feeling. If they had got hold of some principles that had 749 stood the stocks of time and had brought much good to the nation for nearly forty years, they ought to hesitate before they swept them away. His right hon. friend talked as if Cowper-Temple teaching was to go on in future just as it was doing to-day. There might have been more accuracy in the statement. What was Cowper-Templeism? It was that no formula or catechism of any particular Church was to be taught in any board or council school. Now, was it not the object of this Bill that all these formulæ and catechisms were to be taught in the council schools? If they passed this Bill they destroyed the Cowper-Temple compromise. That compromise was a most remarkable one. He never looked into it without wondering at the wisdom of their predecessors. The first principle of the compromise, the law as it now stood, was that the State should not interfere in the religious teaching in the schools; that that should all be left to the local authority. The school inspectors were not to interfere with the religious teaching sanctioned by the local authority. No grant was to be paid for religious instruction. No question was to be asked by the school inspectors about religious teaching. And finally, no school was to suffer in any way if it did not give religious teaching. He spoke on this matter as one profoundly impressed with the importance of religious teaching in the schools. In 1906 they discussed this matter at great length, but no true facts were presented to the House with regard to what Cowper-Templeism really was. When the 1906 Bill was before the House of Lords that House ordered a Report to be published in regard to Cowper-Temple teaching, and two remarkable Blue-books on the subject were issued in 1907. He was sorry that there had never been a discussion in this House on that Report, which showed that of the 331 local education authorities into which this country was divided, all of them, with the exception of one and even that one subject to some qualification, stated that religious teaching was given in their schools. That was to say that Cowper-Temple teaching was given in the 7,000 council schools in the country, and only in sixty or seventy schools was 750 it not given. Was it not remarkable that this provision, so free, without compulsion, should have secured such a wonderful result? What was it that their predecessors in this House trusted to in regard to religious teaching? They put their trust in the religious instincts of the English people; and that was the reason why religious teaching had spread so much through the schools all over the country. But in this Bill, instead of trusting to the religious instincts of the people and leaving them a free hand on the matter, instead of relying on the wisdom of the local authorities, they had, on the prompting of the bishops, made it secure that there should be denominational religious teaching for three-quarters of an hour twice a week. They had put the local authorities under two authorities—first under the State and then under the priests. He feared that they had made a great mistake. He was speaking from the standpoint of a purely Protestant country. He thought that his hon. friend the Member for East Mayo had a perfectly good case when he said that this system was no good to the Roman Catholics. His Church had proved that, because no Catholic School was ever transferred to the local authority, and some other system to meet the needs of the Catholics must be devised. As he said they had never examined these Blue-books, but there was a debate on them in the House of Lords, and the Archbishop of Canterbury declared that he had always held that Cowper-Temple teaching contained the backbone of Church teaching. If the Church had got the backbone of their teaching they ought to be satisfied with it. He thought his Nonconformist friends had been quite unfairly treated throughout this matter of Cowper-Temple teaching. It had been described as Nonconformist teaching, and it was always talked of as if the Nonconformists made no sacrifice in accepting it. That was an insult to the Nonconformists who had their creeds and formularies as well as other Churches. What, however, was the position of Nonconformists with regard to this matter? Their position was that they had obeyed the law, and carried out the compromise. Then they were 751 asked to accept another compromise, and the inquiry was made what they had given up. They replied that they had given up the right to teach their creed for the sake of setting up a good system of education in the schools, and they asked the Church to follow their example. He thought the Church had hitherto got the best of it; and as we had got in this country one system which had had such a proud record, and which secured so much to everybody, they ought to hesitate before they swept it away. Let them look at the effect it would have upon schools if they did this. A short time ago there was not one Liberal on those benches who would not have agreed with everything he had said, but what startling change had come over them. In eloquent language the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty said that if they took the course set up by the Bill they would create pandemonium. He did not wish to put it so high as that, but he said that they would create great confusion if religious teaching were introduced in this way. If hon. Members studied the Bill they would see that it bristled with dangers. The two mornings did not mean two mornings a week altogether, but two mornings a week for every child, so that this sort of teaching would go on every morning. Then it was imagined that only religions with creeds would be taught, but they might have Christian Science and atheism brought in, and they might have a dozen jarring sects struggling in the schools for the bodies and souls of the poor children. They were told that at this moment war was going on, and that they ought to make peace, but the war was among the politicians, and there was peace in the schools. In the Catholic schools of the country the children were not experiencing any difficulties with regard to religious instruction, and in the Church and council schools they were getting on very nicely, and they had a great deal to thank this Parliament for. It had passed a food Bill and measures for medical inspection and sanitation. They had done much, and the cause of education was not stopped, but they were making great progress, and he did not believe that there was anything in this Bill which would advance educa- 752 tion one whit. What would the Government do by it? They would transfer the strife which was raging among politicians to the schools, and he did not want that to be done. They were grown-up people, and were accustomed to strife, and could carry it through with comparatively little damage to themselves. But if it was introduced into the schools it would do permanent injury to the young mind. They had no experience of this system in this country.
§ MR. LOUGH
said he did not allude to them; he was speaking of the ordinary elementary schools. In the ordinary elementary school, whether it was a Church school or a council school they had got only one system of religious teaching. There were 7,000 of these schools in which there were 3,000,000 children in attendance, and he thought the House ought to pause before it disturbed a system which had worked so long and so well. What would be the effect of the Bill if it passed? It was said that only extremists were against it, but that was not the case. He was not as extremist. He did not like to mention another matter, and yet he felt bound to bring it before this House. He did not think the financial provision of the Bill was satisfactory. This was part of the difficulty in which they were placed owing to the extraordinary hurry with which the Bill had been produced. He should like to ask this question: Would the council schools get the grant which was given to the contracted-out schools?
§ MR. RUNCIMAN
My right hon. friend will find the financial proposals of my predecessor were published on 26th February last, and they have been before the House, ever since.
§ MR. LOUGH
was glad to have elicited that information. He believed, therefore, that the same grants would be given to the council schools as would be given to the contracting-out schools. If that was so it would go a great way to meet the difficulties. In London they suffered under the Education Bill by getting 753 about 2s. less than they ought to receive, and if anything was done with regard to education grants something should be done to remove the inequalities in regard to London. The financial proposals of the Bill were of a very subtle character in another respect. He wanted the House to look at the character of these associations, which were distinctly bound up with the financial arrangements. They were told that the Roman Catholic Association might get an amount of £750,000, and that the Roman Catholics did not think that was sufficient; and perhaps they might be able to make out a case to that effect. But he wanted to see the position of the Church Association. This question had been discussed as if it were quite certain that all Church schools would be transferred to the local authorities, but there was not a word about transferring Church schools except the 5,000 schools in the single school areas, and although that was a great number there was no compulsory provision for transferring any other schools. These 5,000 schools had only 500,000 children, and there would still remain about a million and a half of other Church school children. If all those contracted out the Church Association might have an income of three or four millions. He thought it was a very serious question for this House to consider at the end of an Autumn session whether associations of this kind were to be set up, and given such large sums as those proposed by the Bill. The very forefront of the Bill said that all tests for teachers would be removed by it, but he was afraid that those tests although driven out in one place, were put back again in another. He could not see how the teacher could be asked to volunteer to give religious teaching without introducing in a subtle way the tests which were condemned in the first clause. A teacher would make an excellent reputation for himself by volunteering to give religious teaching, and a great many would ingratiate themselves with the authorities in that way with a view to promotion. These were a few of the difficulties which he saw, and which he had always seen, in any system of establishing a right of entry or interfering with the Cowper-Temple compromise. They were difficulties which he did not 754 think the Government had fully considered. It was not enough for them to say: "Let us meet this in a spirit of conciliation; let us give up something, and the other side give up something, and all will be right." It did not follow in human affairs that all would be right, and he saw a subtle danger in the way in which the Government were going about this that appealed to him very strongly. If the President of the Board of Education had brought down a Bill, and said it was out of his own mind, and expressed the conviction that he had been brought to it by a long struggle as a politician in this country, he would have received that Bill with greater respect. He did not like these arrangements behind the back of Parliament. They had had two of them this year, and the effect of them was to reduce this House to a registering assembly and their free judgment was not exercised upon them. They were told by the Prime Minister that there was an equilibrium about this settlement, but what was the result of it? It meant that they were going to waste ten days more in Committee and do nothing. They were the legislative authority of this country and he did not know who gave the Archbishop of Canterbury a right to dictate to the Nonconformist majority of this House. He had a great respect for the Archbishop of Canterbury, and all other clergymen in their proper places, but when they came to male laws he said they had not been selected by the people for that purpose, whereas the Members of this House had been, and they ought to approach the making of the laws with every faculty that they could bring to bear upon the ask and with perfect freedom. They ought to be asked to express their opinions with due regard to limitations as to length, and as he did not wish to break that excellent rule he would not continue his remarks further, except to say that he was in favour of conciliation ["Oh!"] Certainly he was, his whole record proved that. He was for conciliation and he had mentioned those points in a perfectly business way to his right hon. friend in charge of the Bill, and until the last moment when they might have to give a decision on the subject he would certainly give the Government the benefit of 755 any doubts which he had in his mind, and if they could remove those doubts they should certainly have his support.
§ MR. BUTCHER (Cambridge University)
expressed the opinion that no one on the Opposition side of the House, whether he approved or disapproved of this Bill, was insensible of the admirable spirit and intention of its authors. The Bill itself was in marked contrast to that which it displaced. The principle of the last Bill was that if you wanted religious freedom you must buy it at the cost of educational efficiency, and if you desired educational efficiency you must forfeit all claim to religious freedom. That could not be said of this Bill. On the whole it would be unfair to say that any large section of the community was to be penalised for its religious convictions. But there was one exception, and that was the intolerable position in which the Roman Catholics were placed. Those who desired, from the church of England point of view, to come to a settlement could hardly do so without a sense of betrayal and dishonour resting upon them so long as something better was not done for the Roman Catholics, and he trusted that in Committee the case of the Roman Catholics would receive much more careful consideration. Many people, both in the House and outside, felt that this Bill inflicted so great an injustice on the Church of England that it would be impossible for members of that communion to accept it. He owned that some ominous remarks dropped on the previous night by the hon. Member for North West Norfolk seemed to portend mischief, and to raise the question which, after all, was the main question before the House—Was this intended to be a lasting settlement, a permanent peace, or merely a truce? He confessed that those remarks disquieted him, nor did the text of the Bill appear fully to embody the understandings arrived at in the published correspondence. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had that day done something to reassure them on that score. He had told the House that if it were maintained that the Bill did not give full effect to the agreement, he would give careful attention to such criticisms.
756 Everyone was alive to the enormous sacrifices which the Bill entailed on both sides. On the side of the Church of England, whether they considered it from the point of view of the sacrifice of money or of cherished sentiments, the sacrifices were immense and incalculable. In the rural areas and country villages the Church gave up everything and gained nothing. If the country clergy looked at this Bill only from the point of view of their own schools he would not be surprised if they said that the terms were impossible to accept. The only grounds upon which they could be accepted were that there might be found in the Bill, as a whole, other compensating advantages which made these great sacrifices worth incurring. There were two novel features in the Bill, which he put down as gain from the Church of England point of view. One was that for the first time the rights of parents were here explicitly recognised to have that form of religious instruction which they desired given to their children. That had been the demand of the Church for years past, but it had never yet found expression in legislation. Hitherto, the parent had a right to say, "The child shall not learn this"; and so the parent might withdraw the child; but until now no right had been given him to say "the child shall learn that." This was a great and a positive gain. It was brought about mainly through the universal right of entry. It was said that these facilities were precarious and illusory; that an unfriendly Board of Education or a hostile local authority might defeat their purpose; that the plea might be put in that the administration and discipline of the school made it impossible either for a school teacher or a stranger to give special religious instruction. But the working of this Bill, as of so many other things in our social and political life, must depend on the goodwill of those who worked it. As for the words of the Bill, they could be so amended as to make the intention more clear than it was at present; for the rest it must be left to the local authorities, who throughout England had shown remarkable reasonableness and toleration, and had managed to work out a difficult Act with wonderful harmony. Anyhow he did not feel able 757 to depreciate the right of entry as had been done by some of his friends both inside and outside the House. He regarded this as a great opportunity which had come within the reach of the Church of England, and had hitherto seemed unattainable. The value of that opportunity would depend on what the Church made of it. It would provide a test of the vitality of the Church and of the convictions of the parents. If the Church had sufficient organising power, and the parents sufficiently strong religious convictions, the right of entry would be the greatest boon ever conferred on the Church of England. It probably could not be worked merely through the teachers in the schools. He put aside the question of the head teacher for a moment, though in passing he would say that the one-sided liberty given to the head teacher was most inequitable. If he was to be allowed to refuse to give religious instruction, he ought also to be allowed to give it if he liked. He thought, however, that the Church would find it necessary not to call in mere amateur teachers but to bring in trained volunteers, and they would have to devote their energies to the training of such teachers.
The second gain was this. It was the intention of the Bill to secure that Christian teaching should be given on the demand of the parents in every school in England. It was no longer to depend on municipal contests or on the warfare of local factions, it was now to be a statutory right. That had been criticised as one of the blots of the Bill. To his mind it was one of its chief merits that it lifted religious teaching above municipal squabbles, and recognised the duty to give that teaching as something enjoined by the State. But this Christian teaching—a description disputed by some of his friends—would not be made effective merely by such provisions as that for the formation of a religious instruction committee. It would be necessary to provide religious inspection of that teaching; and there must also be a complete change of policy of the Department as regards the training colleges. There must be no more of that policy of harsh repression which had characterised the Education 758 Department towards the training colleges during the last two years. He welcomed the signs which had already been given by the Minister of Education that there was to be a new departure in that respect. He would only say a passing word upon the question of undenominational or Cowper-Temple teaching. It was said that it henceforth received a preferential place in our educational system; also it was described as "a new creed," a "State religion." As regards preferential treatment, the Bill did not for the first time give it preferential treatment; that treatment had been given for many years. As regards the other objection, he could not persuade himself that Cowper-Templeism was a creed or in any strict sense an "ism" at all. He quite admitted that for the Roman Catholics it was a form of religious creed which it was impossible for them to accept. But to the great mass of English Churchmen it was the common basis of Christian teaching, the groundwork upon which the rest of the fabric was raised. Church membership might be superadded to that teaching. Church teaching could supplement it. If that were not so, how could English, Churchmen so long have acquiesced in a majority of their children being taught this form of religion in the Council schools of England? That fact alone showed that in the mind of most members of the Church Cowper-Temple teaching was not the poisonous thing it was thought to be by some extreme denominalionalists. He frankly admitted that the unified denominational school, both educationally and from the point of view of religion, was far better than the other kind of school; yet the description often given of undenominational schools could not be sustained by anybody holding the moderate views of the Church of England.
But he would add another remark—it was a vital consideration—that the Church of England must look ahead—it must look to the future. In the course of the debate, figures had been quoted which showed that the Church schools were dwindling in number every year, many of them had been recently closed, the number of children attending them was steadily declining, while the 759 number of children in the Council schools was steadily increasing. He had heard no answer from his friends who took the other view to this question: "What do you propose to do looking to the future? Your whole interest seems to be concentrated upon the Church children in Church schools. Have you no concern for that much larger number of Church children who are in the council schools, who in a very few years will form an enormous majority over the others?" There were many poor parishes in the suburbs of London and in all the great cities where there were no Church schools, and now for the first time the Church would get access to those Church children; it would have the right of entry which, if it were used well and wisely, might be in the end the salvation of the children. Further, the Church of England was the Church of the nation, and not the Church of a sect, Her first obligations were to the members of her own communion, but she had also duties to those outside that communion. Other denominations might regard their duties as discharged when they had provided for the needs of their own children. Not so the Church of England; she was the trustee of the religious life of the whole people, she must have regular for the spiritual interests of the nation as a whole. It was surely a matter of the first moment to the Church of England that the State should not be secular, but that religion should be recognised, as it was solemnly recognised in this Bill as a concern of the State. He laid great stress upon the special duty the Church of England owed to those who were not only outside her own communion, but outside all the Churches there was a mass of children in our great industrial centres whose parents were untouched by the organisation of any Church; and if a secular system, which many advocated, were established, who would be responsible for those children? What body was there, what organisation? There was no agency other than the State, and that form of religion which the State authorised. The Church of England, therefore, could not take a narrow or sectarian view. She could not get absolute equality in the sense in which that phrase was some- 760 times used. She must make some sacrifices, and provided that she could safeguard the principles for which her own schools existed, she might well consent to surrender her strict rights in order to fulfil larger duties. If the present settlement were rejected, then candidly he saw nothing before them but the secular solution. It seemed to him that they would be steering straight for the secularisation of the schools, and he could not wonder that those who desired that solution entered the passionate protest which they heard last night against the proposed compromise. It was not a matter for the Church of England only, but for all who cared for religious education, to avert such a result. He trusted that Church people would consider this matter not only from the point of view of their own schools, the surrender of which might be to them a grievous hardship, but that they take care that their allegiance to their own Church did not prevail over their allegiance to religion itself.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF EDUCATION (M. TREVELYAN, Yorkshire, W.R., Elland)
My right hon. friend the Member for Islington stated with great truth that most of us who are supporting this Bill are practised fighters in the education field, and I am reminded that my first political pilgrimage with my right hon. friend the President, was in an autumn campaign denouncing the Bill of 1902. Probably most of us envy in some degree those who are still compelled to maintain an attitude of splendid irreconcilability. It has very many attractions. But also because we have fought so long we have been able fairly and correctly to measure the strength of the position of those who have hitherto been opposed to us. I think we are wise in coming to the conclusion that we cannot have peace except on terms. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London, speaking to-day, was emphatic in his opinion that we none of us approve this arrangement, and that we none of us support it on its intrinsic merits. Is that true? Is it the case? Most of us see in this Bill the acceptance of some of our cherished principles, though it is true that there are 761 disagreeable concessions in it that we should very much like to avoid. For myself, I should be no party to arrangements which did not in essentials give us those things for which I and my forbears have been working. To my mind this controversy has always hinged, more than upon anything else, on the question of the test of teachers. The first time that I hoped for accommodation in this controversy and the effectual ending of this long warfare, was in the spring of this year, when I listened in the House of Lords to the Archbishop of Canterbury speaking on the Bill of the Bishop of St. Asaph. He used these words, speaking on 30th March—Then this Bill admits the principle of the freedom of the teacher as such from religious tests. That is the more difficult question, I think, of all the many difficult questions which arise in connection with our educational problem. I have myself all my life supported the principle of freedom from tests of all those who occupy public offices in the Civil Service, or in other similar public capacity. I think that it is accepted now by most people, and I confess I have come to admit it myself even for teachers in their professional capacity.I came away from the House of Lords on that occasion with new hope after these observations of the Archbishop. I want to say a few words about this question to my hon. friends on this side of the House. This Bill intends to abolish tests for teachers and I think it does so. The criticism which requires most to be met from this side of the House is the allegation that we have incidentally reimposed tests for teachers by this Bill. I think that everyone will admit that in rate-aided schools at any rate, legal tests are going to be abolished for teachers. You cannot abolish tests absolutely, because you cannot prevent a bias in the minds of the selectors of the teachers. Some men do not know what religious liberty means, and until you get perfection of public opinion you cannot get perfect freedom from tests. It is alleged by some of my hon. friends that clergymen and other enthusiastic Churchmen will, in order to get the assistance of the assistant teachers in the public schools, practically impose a test upon them by letting it be known that when it comes to promotion they will have their suffrages. I am not prepared to say that there would be no danger of this occurring among small bodies of managers where there are 762 clergymen who have a somewhat narrow view of their responsibilities. In this Bill we make an attempt to remove the appointment of teachers out of what from the educational point of view I regard as the unsatisfactory parochial atmosphere where local prejudice and the limited power of selection injures the chances of free choice. We propose that the local educational authorities shall henceforward appoint the teachers themselves, and when the time comes I am ready to argue that as a great and valuable education reform. Here the provision is inserted as being an absolute safeguard against any systematic use of the power of promotion in order to reward, the teacher. Among the varieties of partisanship which you find on county councils and corporations religious fanaticism very rarely appears. Since 1902 the county councils and the corporations have very often with very great difficulty worked what many of their members regarded as a partial Act with singular impartiality. What I say now is that when all moderate men are determined to make this Act work, as they will be if it is passed, the last thing that any county council will do is to tolerate the appointment of its teachers by religious prejudice. I believe in the commonsense of the average Englishman, and I believe he will prevent the county councils, being made the fighting ground for sects, for everybody, from the squire to the working-man, is thoroughly sick of this kind of thing. I think those teachers who take the view of my hon. friend the Member for Nottingham are singularly ill-advised in their attitude towards this Bill. As a matter of fact the teachers stand to gain more than anybody else by it. There are 5,000 schools now closed to half the teachers of the country which will certainly be open to their free competition under this Bill. It appears to me to be a somewhat short-sighted policy on the part of the teachers for the sake of an indefinite, exaggerated, and speculative mistrust of their average fellow-citizens to reject what is for them a great actual professional emancipation. I say that, as far as I am concerned, I believe many people on this side of the House holding Liberal principles are thoroughly satisfied by this Bill. We get freedom for teachers, and 763 by the control of the schools coming into the hands of the local authorities passive registers can now pay their rates with peace and honour. But we have to make concessions. I do not myself like the right of entry, and I do not think we should concede the right of entry except to get a far greater thing, namely, the public control of the schools and a non-sectarian system. I very much wish that the clergymen would leave the schools alone, and I am sorry they are not satisfied with the ordinary Cowper-Temple teaching. But it is a solid and undisputed fact that they are not satisfied with it. That may be regrettable from our point of view, but it is very easy to exaggerate the harm which the clergy or anybody else can do by coming into the public schools. There may be here and there a clergyman who will try to make himself a nuisance by interfering and proselytising. I do not think they will, but that is a possible danger. Again I say that I do not believe public opinion on the local education authorities will allow that to take place. I think this fear in the minds of those who suggest that if this Bill is passed everybody from the parson to the managers are going to be unreasonable is wrong. I think that is a grotesque view of my fellow-countrymen. The Bishop of Manchester has used some words in which he spoke of something like an epidemic of sentimentality passing over the country. What there is throughout the country is an atmosphere of conciliation and common-sense and if we pass this Bill by the New Year we shall be able to go down to our counties, where we shall find everybody in responsible positions anxious to consider all the foibles and difficulties of others, resolutely and determinedly ready to work the arrangements in the Bill. It is in that spirit of confidence in our fellow-countrymen that I should like to see members of the Church of England approaching these proposals. Naturally we do not expect all sections of the Church to approve of this Bill, but I think we may fairly ask that those who care primarily for the rights of parents to support us. Since 1870 they have never been in a position of case or security. They have had a limited number of Church schools which have been maintained at great expense and with little advantage to the Church owing to the 764 unpopularity of the system. Their children in the provided schools were unable to obtain on any terms the religious teaching which they thought they had a right to have. Until the; Archbishop of Canterbury presented these possible terms to his Church they were as far away as ever from obtaining what they wanted. A diminishing proportion of the children of the country were able to get Church teaching, and they were always liable through turns of political fortune to lose even the opportunities which they had. By this Bill, if honestly and properly worked, parents will have the absolute right conceded to them of getting their special religious teaching. The greater part of the arguments which have come from the other side of the House, and from those who are not wholly against these arrangements, has been that the facilities which the Government are offering under this Bill are not real. The noble Lord the Member far Marylebone said that the facilities under this Bill were an excrescence which was likely to disappear. The hon. Member for Chichester said they were meant to be illusory, and even the hon. Member for the Oxford University had some doubts as to whether these facilities were really effective. Now let us be quite clear as to what the Government mean. First of all, this Bill is meant to be an honest settlement. The granting of those facilities is meant to be a real permission. They are meant to be as fair as possible, and they are meant to be an absolute right to the parent limited only by the minimum of precaution necessary to prevent educational chaos. You might have a condition of things where there was an application by so many denominations that the educational efficiency of the school would be impossible to maintain during the first three-quarters of an hour. When we produce the provisions by which the local education authority have the absolutely necessary administrative control over the management of facilities, we are turned upon and told that then the Church is to be at the mercy of the local education authority, who may squeeze the teaching out of the schools in detail if not in the gross. Again, look at the condition of the public mind. If this Bill were passed would moderate opinion allow the county 765 council to do anything of the kind? The noble Lord the Member for Marylebone said the other day that if this Bill were carried you would have the various sections going into local politics in order to see that facilities were properly worked. The very last thing that the members of the county councils want is to have their bodies turned into cockpits of religious squabbles, and they will take very good care to work these facilities honestly and straightforwardly in order to avoid any such occurrences as that. If it should happen that there are one or two counties so perverse as to attempt to break up the national settlement we may rely upon the honesty of the President of the Board of Education doing his best to prevent it. I want to know why we should expect the granting of these facilities becoming a failure. A few years ago I was in Australia, in New South Wales, where they have a system like the settlement which the Government is now proposing in this Bill. There are in New South Wales State-aided schools, State-managed, no tests for teachers, and no dogmatic or polemical theology taught. General religious teaching is part of the normal course of instructions in all the schools of the Colony, but superadded are facilities which, with the exception of certain details, are almost exactly what the Government are now proposing. Provision is made for setting apart one hour each day during which the clergymen may give special instruction to those scholars of his own particular persuasion. As a matter of fact, the compromise we give is rather better, because they do not allow instruction lay the assistant teacher. I made very careful inquiries, and I elicited that the privilege of giving special religious teaching was availed of by the Church of England and by that body alone. That was the system which ha I been working in New South Wales some ten or fifteen years, and there has been no case of friction recorded between the educational authorities and the Church in carrying out those facilities. In order that the House may see it was a real concession I should like to read from one of the Reports issued in the diocese of Sydney, where the Church displays a great activity, from 766 the Rev. Arthur W. Payne, on special religious instruction—A good record of work done during the past year can be given. It is impossible to furnish an absolutely complete statement, but there has been an increase in the number of clergy and catechists engaged in this work. Altogether at least 449 classes were taught, representing about 28,000 children. These are the highest figures yet reported.This seems thoroughly satisfactory. I never heard anyone say there was any harm in it from the point of view of the Church. The Church was thoroughly satisfied. And on the other hand, when I was there, although I made many inquiries, I never heard any complaint on the part of other Protestant Churches of the use made by the Church of England of a privilege which was on their part deliberately neglected. I believe it might work in the same way here. Some hon. Gentleman opposite are alarmed because some of my friends on this side say there need be no fear in granting facilities because they will not last long; in ten years nobody will be utilising them. Of course, it is possible that at any rate in some parts of England the Church may prefer to restrict the denominational teaching to the Sunday schools. It may prefer to keep its money for other purposes than paying teachers to come in for denominational teaching. I am entirely disinclined to be prophetic myself. I do not know what is likely to happen. But even if that should happen it would not vitiate the arrangement from the point of view of the Church. They could always re-adopt the system if they pleased. I prefer to say, with the hon. Member for Oxford University, the right of entry will be whatever the Church, chooses to make of it. None of us like contracting out. Some Churchmen want all schools that can be to be contracted out, and they are asking for a grant which is equivalent to the present rats aid. Obviously that would be no settlement at all. Clearly there are districts which are not covered by the single school area provisions, in which there are two or three denominational schools, as the case may be. If contracting out were allowed with enormous grants equivalent to rate aid, what would 767 happen in those districts? All the Church schools would remain and costly public schools would have to be built for those children who did not want to go there. There would be from the point of view of a large number of people, no public gain, and a great deal of educational and financial loss. We are all agreed with regard to contracting-out, if contracting-out there must be, that it should be as limited as possible, because it is an educational evil, and where it is specially desired there must be some kind of readiness to contribute towards it. Last night we had a surprising speech from the hon. Member for North-West Manchester. He informed us that in the unfortunate parishes of Lancashire there are no subscribers. He did not appear to appreciate that even if that were true they could get assistance from the rich subscribers to their association in other parts of England. But really are we to believe that the Lancashire Churchmen are so determined to be outside the national system, and yet so unable to pay for the privilege? Surely there must be some exaggeration in the hon. Gentleman's figures. Either the Churchmen of Lancashire are not so anxious for their separate schools or else they are not quite so poor as he represents them to be. The Church can very well afford to pay for this exceptional privilege. In 1901 £640,000 were subscribed by the Church of England to these schools, and there is no reason why they should not pay a large proportion for the special privilege of standing outside the national system. Again, on the Roman Catholic aspect of the question, from an educational point of view, we regret contracting out, but the terms we offer cannot be regarded as ungenerous. In Australia they have systems which absolutely satisfy the whole of the Protestant part of the population. But what happens to the Catholics there? There is no money for Catholics at all They are pariahs. The whole of the money has to be found by them—a terrible misfortune for the education and the progress of the country. We are being generous to those who choose to hold themselves out of our national system. I believe this Bill is the basis for some kind of settlement. I believe 768 we are in it reverting to what might have been achieved in 1870 if the opportunity had been taken, a national system with the fewest possible exceptions instead of the exceptions being made the rule. I do not believe in 1870 the National Church need ever have been outside the national system. I do not believe it ever wanted to be outside the national system, but a bribe was offered it to stay outside, and no inducements were offered it to come inside. We, to-day, honestly offer terms to the Church to enter, and many of its wisest leaders are anxious to accept these terms if they can. I believe our country will be intensely angry with us if we reject this Bill. We shall be felt to represent neither the Churches nor the State. The mass of the electors want a settlement. They may be the less articulate part of the electors, but they are the more numerous, and in the end it will be found they are the more important.
§ MR. GEORGE ROBERTS (Norwich)
quite agreed that some constituents might be angry if the Bill was rejected. But he was perfectly sure, even if the Bill was enacted, no considerable part of the people would be very enthusiastic about it. He wished to give his reasons for having decided to vote against the Second Reading. He had generally agreed that a Bill should secure Second Reading, and that there every privilege should be availed of to effect desired Amendments. But in regard to this Bill if he read the signs aright there would be no chance of emendation in Committee. They had to take the Bill as a whole. They would be able to make their speeches but the Government and the supporters of the Bill would be able when occasion required to rally their forces and outvote any arguments which might be adduced against any provision of the Bill. This seemed to be a grave violation of Parliamentary privilege. He entered an emphatic protest against these compromises being entered into and Bills being framed upon them simply with the idea that Parliament had the power only to ratify but neither to amend nor reject them. They had been plainly told by Ministers that the Bill was to be accepted 769 as a whole, that if any portion of it was modified or tampered with the balance would be disturbed and the whole arrangement would have been broken. He felt that that was an undesirable thing. The House of Commons was the representative body of the nation, and Bills ought to be passed through the House as the result of free expression of opinion and due consideration of the various points comprised in them. One wondered how far this system of conference and compromise was likely to proceed. Would they see a conference to consider whether it was possible to get a Licensing Bill through? He did not see why, if it was possible to bring two hitherto irreconcilable elements such as the bishops and Nonconformists together, it was not equally practicable to bring the brewing interest and the temperance reformer into cooperation. He would have no objection to a Licensing Bill going through, but he did not think it was practicable on these lines. He had never contemplated seeing Nonconformists accept a Bill containing such startling provisions as this. During the general election, although in the whole of his public career he had been convinced that the only abiding and natural solution of the question was the secular solution, his sympathies were Nonconformist, and he had pledged himself in his constituency to see redress for the undoubted grievances that Nonconformists laboured under. But if this was the way in which Nonconformist grievances were to be remedied he could not read the terms aright. In this compromise they seemed to think that the nation was composed entirely of Churchmen and Nonconformists. There was a considerable proportion of people who perfectly honestly rejected all creeds. He had never heard previously that the rejection of creeds invalidated the rights of citizenship, and he could not see how the rights of this considerable portion of people were properly preserved in this Bill. True the conscience clause was retained, but there was no man with a proper respect for his children who liked them to be marked as heretical in the schools. They had a strong objection to the children being called upon to bear the whole responsibility for the 770 idiosyncrasies of their parents, and he felt that even the retention of this so-called conscience clause did not compensate for the abrogation of the rights of a considerable class of people, many of whom he was acquainted with as being good citizens and equally worthy of consideration with any sects who were parties to this compromise. They had been told repeatedly that if this Bill was not accepted the only alternative was the secular solution. Others said that that would never be accepted by the nation as a whole, but he was convinced that more and more people were coming to recognise that it was the only enduring solution of this vexed question. Undoubtedly in the realm of sectarianism the non-combatants were diminishing. More people were becoming convinced of the desirability of the State confining itself to the imparting of what was known as secular instruction. Another portion of the people were so sick and weary of this sectarian bitterness that they had turned to the secular solution, some said as a policy of despair, because they desired to put an end to this question. The Government ought to accord more credit to those who had advocated the secular solution. If it had not been for the spread of that idea he did not think the bishops and Nonconformists would ever have come together in this matter. The Archbishop of Canterbury had referred to "the gaunt spectre of secular education." He felt his Grace had become convinced that some sort of settlement ought to be arrived at, otherwise the nation would, as a whole, embrace the idea to which he had referred. It was proposed by subsection (b) of Clause 1 of this Bill that Cowper-Templeism was for the first time to become a statutory part of our national education. He regarded that as a most undesirable departure from the State point of view. Although Churchmen and Nonconformists might have succeeded for the time being in coming to an arrangement on this matter he believed they would find that they were opening up fresh difficulties, and that strong resentment would be manifested against this new provision. Hitherto they had had a more or less correct idea of what was meant by Cowper-Templeism, but 771 did the provision in Clause 7 mean that a committee of religious bodies was to decide about the syllabuses which were to prevail in the public schools? Were they to have a free hand in compiling the syllabuses? Was it to be that according to the composition of the committee the syllabus was to have a delicate denominational tinge in one district, and a vividly coloured denominational tinge in another? He saw a grave danger that Cowper-Templeism as they had understood it in the past might be a pronounced form of denominationalism. If the local education authorities were to have power to appoint the special committees these committees could compile the syllabuses which would satisfy the whole of their denominational demands. He hoped that his fear on this point was unfounded, and that the Government would be able to assure him that no such power was contemplated. He was, for a number of years, connected with the school board of his own district, and, whatever might have been his speculative difficulties, he had always sided with his Nonconformist friends in protesting against the right of entry into the national schools. Until this Bill was sprung upon them he did not think that certain members of the Cabinet would ever have allowed such a principle to be embodied in a measure brought forward by a Liberal Government. He was convinced that the Government were placing them on the slippery slope of denominationalism. He felt sure that they would ultimately be convinced of the truth of the statement which had been constantly made that there was no logical halting place between the exclusion of all religion and the inclusion of all denominations in our educational system. The hon. Member for Louth, speaking on the Second Reading of the 1906 Bill, stated that he had a strong objection to the right of entry to public schools being conceded to the clergymen of every Church, because the Church of England was approximating more and more to Roman Catholicism. The attitude of some undenominationalists on the benches opposite was somewhat remarkable; he never conceived that it would have been possible, but there they had it. The teachers were still as strenuously opposed 772 to this as ever. Their desire was to promote education, and, therefore, they were not prepared to temporise with this arrangement at all. The teachers ought to know what sort of supervision would be exercised by those who were to have the right of entry into the schools. Were those who entered to be allowed to impart anything they liked? He had seen a letter from a Nonconformist who sent his children to a particular school as a matter of convenience. The children on returning from school one day stated that they had been told that unbaptised children could never enter the kingdom of heaven. It seemed to him that under the proposals contained in the Bill they were laying their children open to that kind of teaching. He could conceive that some children might be penned off in one classroom to receive such teaching, while others in another class-room might be taught something entirely different. It was undesirable that such conflicting ideas should be imparted to children attending the same school. Did the Government desire to see a system of fee paying growing up in the schools? He could not understand the meaning of the provision with respect to that matter. He hoped that no provision would be put in any Act of Parliament to encourage the establishment of schools on the fee-paying principle. He presumed there was a desire in some quarters to have a sort of class schools established, because some parents were able and willing to pay fees. That provision would have to be closely watched in Committee, and, if necessary, excised from the Bill. As to teachers being allowed to give religious instruction, he thought the hon. Member for North Camberwell put it in a rather paradoxical way last night when he said that the teachers would be asked to volunteer. A teacher might be asked to volunteer by a member of the authority by whom he was engaged. That would simply mean that the teacher's economic dependence would not allow him to refuse. If a local education authority desired that a certain kind of religious instruction should be given and a teacher refused to give it, the refusal would militate against the teacher's chance of promotion. Therefore, teachers did not want to be placed in that position. All educationists were opposed to the principle of contracting-out. There had not been an argument adduced that day in favour 773 of it. It meant that public control over contracted-out schools would be lost, and it necessarily followed that the standard of education would be depreciated in those schools. Under the system of contracting-out, the management of the schools would become largely clerical, and he was afraid it would become loose and inefficient. Further, the teachers would always be liable to have extraneous duties laid upon them. Very often they would be selected, not because they were able to impart certain secular knowledge, but because they were willing to perform duties which did not come within their functions. He and his friends who shared his views had a genuine complaint against this Bill. He never offered vexatious opposition to any measure. He would prefer in this case, if it were possible, to exercise restraint in order that the Bill might be passed, and the path cleared for the tackling of other social reforms. He was convinced that this Bill would afford no permanent solution of the question. He had heard Nonconformists say that they did not believe that the right of entry would be readily used. It was because he thought it would be largely used, and that it would be detrimental to the development of a national system of education that he objected to the Bill. They should look at this matter from the standpoint of the children. If they did so they would appreciate the futility of teaching these sectarian formulae to the children. He did not believe that the children could grasp these sectarian subtleties. They accepted them because they were told to do so, but when they grew up, if the teaching on these matters remained with them at all, they accepted it instinctively, not as the result of reason and reflection. He believed that in all spheres of thought their conclusions ought to be arrived at from study and reflection. For his own part, he wanted to see the children given as full an education as it was possible for them to acquire, so that when they arrived at maturity they would be able to judge these religious matters for themselves. They would then be in a position to determine for themselves whether these formulae were incongruous or wise on the whole. He did not believe that sectarian teaching had improved the character of the people of this country. Religion did not consist in 774 an intellectual assent to theological propositions. Religion was a thing they could not explain and could not put into the clauses of a Bill. It was something to believe, and he insisted that to allow clergymen into a school for a certain period two or three days in the week was not to promote a true idea of religion as he had been able to apprehend it. He agreed with other hon. Members that it was time this religious difficulty in the schools was got out of the way. He felt that they could do more to promote genuine educational progress by putting aside religious and sectarian controversies, and by extending the school age of the children, reducing the number of children in the classes, improving the qualifications of the teachers, and making it easier for the children to pass from the elementary to the higher forms of education. These things would never be possible until they put this religious controversy outside the field of educational affairs. He was convinced that this Bill would not effect that desirable consummation, but would do something to accentuate the existing evils. He believed that sectarian issues would be imported into Parliamentary elections, and it was evident from his speech that day, that the Leader of the Opposition would not let this question die. The right hon. Gentleman had practically said that if he was in power again he would be met with a demand for the extension of the privileges given in this Bill to the denominations, and he admitted the possibility of his party acceding to the demands of the denominationalists and placing denominationalism completely on the public funds. Municipal squabbles would arise over the question; Parliamentary issues would be obscured by sectarian conflict, and progress would be arrested. The duty of the State was to educate the children only in that which was common to all. This country did not consist alone of Churchmen or Nonconformists. There were other sections that had to be considered; and he very respectfully submitted that, however objectionable the idea of secular education might be to some people, it was the only practical solution of this vexed question. He apologised for the length of time he 775 had taken, but he wanted to make perfectly clear the conscientious reasons which he held for voting against the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ MR. STUART WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)
said he wished to give his reasons for voting for the Second Reading of this Bill. It was no ordinary Bill, and it had to be considered in its relation to the circumstances in which the measure had been brought in and the intentions with which it had been introduced. The objections he had to the Bill, though very great, were all clause objections, which might well be argued and enforced in the Committee stage and finally given effect to by a protest on the Third Reading. His inclination to support the Bill on the Second Reading had received some disturbance since the beginning of the debate. There were two causes of disquietude. The hon. Member for North-West Norfolk, who occupied a position of a rather representative character in this matter, had used the strange expression that this Bill was what he called an instalment. He would not be doing his duty if he did not draw attention to the use of that word. Again, the Prime Minister had said that this Bill was to be taken "as a whole," and the right hon. Gentleman had also used the expression that to make any material alteration in the Bill would be to "disturb its balance." He quite recognised that; but he was entitled to ask whether that meant merely that they were not to move for concessions of a substantial and material kind, or whether it meant that they were not to ask that concessions which some of them believed to be only apparent, should be converted in the course of the Committee stage into real concessions? Churchmen and the trustees and owners of Church schools were being asked to part with something which they could never regain. Vendors of land did not usually part with the possession of their land until the cash or specie was laid on the table. In this case the Church was asked to part with its schools for something which could easily be taken back again, or could be made altogether nugatory, as regarded its value. He did, not wish to impute want of faith, 776 or anything of that kind. Bills were not usually framed on the understanding that the whole population was going to enter into a conspiracy to defeat them when passed into law; but on this Bill they were justified in proceeding with the utmost possible caution, and were not entitled to proceed on the most optimistic assumptions. He did not wish, to mention names or to give currency to phrases used in the course of private conversation, but rumours had reached him and his friends, which showed that there had been no abatement on the part of certain local authorities of their hostility to Church schools. Was there any person on the benches opposite who could give, and was entitled to give—was there any leader of thought and opinion in or out of the House, who was prepared to give assurances that local authorities were prepared to change their conduct in relation to Church schools on advice from headquarters? If such assurances could be given they would go far to remove the objection which many on that side of the House had to voting for the Second Reading. He wished to enter the caveat that in voting for the Second Reading, he detached himself from approval of the actual provisions of the Bill. His vote for the Second Reading meant no more than that he wished to keep alive beyond that night the possibility of a settlement, because he felt that to close the door that night was to close it much too soon, and he did not wish to make impossible the carrying of Amendments which might make the Bill an equitable and a durable settlement.
§ SIR ROBERT PERKS (Lincolnshire, Louth)
did not think that any Nonconformist in this House, or in the country either, could or would express much enthusiasm about this Bill, and he greatly doubted whether it was in accordance with many of the election pledges which they gave prior to the last election. He ventured to dissent from the view expressed by the Minister for Education when he said that in its main features it really carried out the principles which they had been for many years contending for. Indeed, if some of them had gone to their 777 constituencies three years ago and told them that they proposed to throw open the portals of the old school board schools, now the council schools, to the incursions of the clergy of every sect for the purpose of teaching their doctrinal theory, and if they had told them that they intended to extend the principle of contracting-out, and been asked to support such educational measures, the only answer, he thought, that they could have given them would have been: "Is thy servant a dog to do this?" None of them ever contemplated the remotest possibility of having to stand up in the House, and give even a measured degree of approval to a Bill of this description. His right hon. friend the Minister for Education was, he knew, familiar with the past history of Nonconformity in this country, and it seemed to him that history was strangely repeating itself in connection with this measure. He turned up last night a passage from a letter written by Lord Ripon to Mr. Forster in 1870, in which he stated the difficulty in which he found himself placed in forcing through the House a Bill which undoubtedly proved, as they had been told that afternoon, fairly satisfactory for many years, and which was sometimes called a settlement. Mr. Forster, as they all remembered, was brought to task, as he had no doubt the present Government would be, by many people throughout the country for being a party to a concession which was then considered educationally unsound and conflicting absolutely with the principles of religious equality and the teachings of Nonconformity. Lord Ripon replying to Mr. Forster said—Your business and mine is simply to try and get the Bill through without alteration. If Gladstone prefers to carry it by the aid of the Tory rather than by consulting the bulk of the Liberals, that is his affair not ours, and we must let him do what he likes on that point.That was the view of what possibly some people might call a practical politician, and others would call a political opportunist. At all events, the result of the action was that the Government of the day was deserted by many of its most active supporters throughout the country, and the Liberal Party in 1874 was beater hopelessly at the polls. The Government unquestionably must have had all these facts before them when they 778 entered upon these negotiations, to which such frequent reference had been made in the House and in the Press. He would like to say that he spoke on behalf of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, which was the largest in. this country next to the Church of England, and when he said that no negotiations of any sort whatever had taken place between the Government and the educational authorities of that Church in connection with this Bill, prior to its introduction. They knew absolutely nothing about it officially. He did not think, with one or two exceptions possibly, that any of their leading ministers or laymen were consulted, and therefore they were in precisely the same position as the Roman Catholic Church. The Wesleyan Methodist Church were in absolutely the same position. As representing a village constituency, he would confine his remarks for the moment to the rural districts, and he would ask whether in the rural parts of this country they were going to gain or lose educationally by this Bill. It certainly seemed to him that the Bill for rural districts had three very distinct advantages, coupled, as it now stood, with two serious drawbacks. In the first place, the parson ceased to be the ruler of the school, and the sectarian majority on the management committee for the first time disappeared. The school, therefore, became a public school under the management of the local education authority, and that was unquestionably a great advantage, because it brought 6,000 single area schools in the country within the purview for the first time of a national system of educational control. He ventured to point out that this was not an effective-control unless this Bill, or some future Bill, was going a step further, and provide for very much smaller educational areas of management. Those who were familiar with the rural districts-knew that in many counties—let them take Lincolnshire as an illustration, there they had a great Nonconformist county, and its representation at present showed it to be a preponderating Liberal county, and yet the district and county educational authorities were, unhappily, through the smash-up of the school board system, now Anglican and 779 Tory, and failed altogether to represent either the political or religious complexion of the county. Consequently, unless they restored, and very quickly restored, the local educational authorities in small areas, they would not have the advantage of the educational assistance and supervision of the men in the locality. It was illusory altogether to suppose that this Bill give effective local control over their schools, and the point taken by the hon. Member below the gangway who spoke a few minutes before with reference to Clause 7, was a very practical one in such a county as Lincoln, because there it would be possible, under Clause 7, which he should very much like to see excised from the Bill, for the Lincolnshire County Council, and many other county councils, to provide a small sectarian committee for the purpose of formulating the religious curriculum to be used in public schools, this being Cowper-Templeism. But there was no doubt in these districts it was a great advantage to get rid of the parson who controlled the school and to make it into a public school, and place 6,000 schools under the national system. In the next place, the Bill undoubtedly emancipated in those districts the teacher from clerical control, and he became for the first time a free man, not appointed by managers of sectarian schools, whether they were Anglican, Wesleyan, or British, but he was appointed regardless of sectarian qualifications by the central educational power. That was a great step forward in the English, village and the small town, because it threw open for the first time, he thought he was not wrong in saying, some 10,000 or 12,000 places for head teachers and assistant teachers to the Nonconformist boy or girl. That was the second great advantage of this Bill in the rural district. The hon. Member who spoke last but one, he thought, spoke quite correctly when he said that possibly this Bill found them in a position of readiness to accept it, owing to the spectre of secularism in the distance—in the near distance. The paramount reason, however, was that they believed that religious or irreligious conflict was hostile to educational efficiency and progress. In the next place he believed that most of them were anxious for a settlement, 780 because there was no doubt that the controversies of the last few years had thrown into hostile camps many men who were anxious to work together for religious, social, and moral reform. But there was no doubt there was a third reason which governed many men, and that was to keep away from the young life of the country an educational system without the teaching of the Holy Scriptures in schools. Therefore while he would prefer to leave the local authorities the powers which they enjoyed under the Act of 1870 to decide for themselves whether they would have Bible teaching in the schools or not, whether they would have Cowper-Temple instruction or not, yet he was so anxious to base the education of the country upon the moral law derived directly from the reading and the teaching of the Holy Scriptures that he was prepared to give up his views in that respect and consent to a statutory obligation on local authorities to provide for Cowper-Temple instruction as a normal condition in all the State-controlled schools. Those were the three advantages of this Bill, but they were face to face with the right of entry and "contracting-out." He unhesitatingly said that he did not believe that the right of entry would be used for many years to come. He did not believe the right of entry would be used for many years, because what the people of this country desired for their children was simple Bible teaching, given by the teacher, and not by a cleric of any denomination. What was the position of the teacher who might offer to give this teaching? In the first place, he might, and probably would, give plain Bible teaching. He would then be called on by the parents to give sectarian religious instruction. He would receive no payment for it, and he would have to plunge into Biblical studies about which he had hitherto not troubled himself. The importation of the clerical teacher to impart to the children the theory of transubstantiation and other doctrines would reduce the schools to a state of pandemonium if long continued. While he believed that contracting-out was bad educationally, bad for the children and the teachers alike, one could not fail to see that the trend of educational life in this 781 country was wholly in the direction of council schools under public control. Balancing the advantages of the Bill against its disadvantages, and believing that the right of entry and contracting-out were conditions not destined to very long continuance, he came to the conclusion that his duty, much as he disliked it, was to make the best of a bad job. He hoped the President of the Board of Education would not under-rate the depth of feeling which existed among Nonconformists in regard to the Bill. His right hon. friend had spoken lightly and flippantly about the views of an eminent Nonconformist, the Rev. Hirst Hollowell. That gentleman was supposed to represent the extremists, but where would the Liberal Party be but for the extremists? Their battles were won by men who were called fanatics, enthusiasts, and extremists. To under-rate men of that sort would be to strike a fatal blow at Liberalism for years to come. Much as he disliked the compromise, it contained elements of advantage, and, taking a debtor and creditor account, he thought the balance came down a very little way in favour of the Bill.
§ MR. BOLAND (Kerry, S.)
said the Prime Minister, in speaking about contracting-out, had stated that the figures of the schedules would be the subject of discussion at a later stage. Of that the House would take due note, but if the guillotine was going to fall on the Bill the time given for that discussion would be very short. In the Scottish Education Bill discussion recently it took three hours to wring from the Secretary for Scotland an admission which they had been trying to get for a long time, and, therefore, he hoped in this Bill the right hon. Gentleman would see that there was full time given for discussing the figures of the schedules. Contracting-out was not the special privilege which it was supposed to be, in so far as it enabled those who supported voluntary schools to stand aloof from the national system. On the contrary it was the Government who forced the supporters of voluntary schools out. The Catholic authorities had not been consulted, and it was not a proper use of language to speak of a privilege being presented to the Roman Catholics 782 and other voluntary school supporters in suggesting that they could contract out. He would use the analogy of the Parliamentary Secretary, with regard to the Roman Catholic schools of Australia getting no grant from the Government, for his own argument. That was certainly a great hardship, but even if they got no support from Government funds they were able in spite of that to maintain their schools in a high state of efficiency. With regard to the statement of the Parliamentary Secretary yesterday that the Roman Catholic schools of Scotland were maintained at 40s., and that the Roman Catholics had made an extra claim of 10s., bringing it up to 50s., which was the exact amount that had been put in this Bill, he would say that as regarded Scotland, they were not asking for the utmost that they were entitled to. If they asked for full justice they would ask for 25s. and not for 10s. The Scottish parallel was not a sound one; a second parallel to that of Scotland could be brought. In the White Paper issued that day the voluntary and council schools were all lumped together and the average struck for the county, but if all the voluntary schools were taken out, and then the average of the council schools struck, the average, instead of being 64s. 10d., as it was now, would be 94s. 10d. for all children attending the voluntary schools. The fact that they made a moderate claim in connection with the Scottish Education Bill was brought against them, but he feared that if these figures were not looked into it might be that the cost of the council schools in England would be brought into juxtaposition with the cost of the Catholic schools and rate-aided schools in Scotland. It had been said by more than one Member on the opposite side of the House, notably the present Secretary to the Admiralty, that the Members of the Irish Party on a previous occasion had voted for contracting-out. That was not the case. All they ever did was, as a last resort, and in order to save a certain number of schools, to vote only in respect of those schools which were not taken over by the local education authority in order to evade granting the facilities which were provided in Clause 4 of the Bill of the present Chief Secretary. In 783 that sense only had they voted for contracting-out, and in no sense could it be said that the Members of the Irish Party had ever voted in favour of the principle of contracting-out. He wished to put that on record now, not, he was afraid, for the last time, because the memory of the House was proverbially short. Unless satisfactory proposals were made for contracting-out, either on the figures adduced or on the merits, he hoped that they were opposed to contracting-out; and he was sure that the President of the Board of Education, who was present, would bear that in mind when he came to deal with the matter in the Committee stage.
§ SIR JOHN KENNAWAY (Devonshire, Honiton)
said he was anxious to say a few words in support of the Second Reading of this Bill. He did so with no light heart. He approached the subject in the same spirit as the hon. Member for Louth. He did not often agree with him, but he thought that on the present occasion what they had to do was to make the best of a bad job. It was with regret that he thought this should be necessary. It would cause great heart burnings to many of those who had given their life and. substance to the work of education for years past. He was afraid that it would not tend to educational efficiency and that it would impose very heavy burdens on the Exchequer already greatly pledged. Yet they were bound to face the situation in spite of the lurid prophecies of his right hon. friend the Member for Islington, who was speaking of the old experience which they both had of the Act of 1870, and of the most grievous influence of the change which was to be wrought. But he thought that a Bill conceived in a spirit of conciliation and compromise, and regard for the feelings of opponents, must commend itself to them, and ensure from them very respectful attention. Their object must be to make the Bill workable and fair, and, if possible, not to leave the sting of cruel injustice and wrong in those who were called upon to make concessions. It was very painful to listen to the pitiful appeals of friends and supporters who said: "Why not leave this alone? We have in time past done our duty to the chil- 784 dren; we have made sacrifices and efforts. When the State cared nothing about the education of the children, they have been our care, until gradually as time went on, and the educational demands of the country caused competition to arise, we were ready to allow the use of our schools. We accepted as a matter of obligation rate aid, and we admitted public control into the management of our schools." With the acceptance of rate aid which no doubt was a necessity, an unfortunate necessity for the Church, fresh complications and fresh interests were brought in which could not possibly be disregarded. This Bill had received very strong opposition from Lancashire. He remembered it was to Lancashire that they owed the fact that they entered on the slippery path of rate aid, and he was not at all anxious now to follow the lead of Lancashire in this matter. Those who were opposed to the present proposals, wrote in despair saying, with truth, that they had fought the battle of purity and morality against a mass of indifference and wickedness, and that if they took away from them the care of the children they were depriving them of one of the chief instruments of maintaining true religion and honesty in the country. Yet if they ousted the parson, of which the hon. Member for Louth spoke with some satisfaction, and put in his place a teacher of whose qualifications to give religious teaching they were in ignorance, they would be doing a very doubtful service. In spite of his hon. friend's rejoicing over the total abolition of tests, he hoped that they would hear sooner or later that there was to be some guarantee that those who were appointed to teach religion had some qualifications for it and some interest in it. His hon. friend the Parliamentary Secretary, who was the son of a very old friend and schoolfellow, and who, he was rejoiced to see, was coming well to the front, had spoken of how this very serious difficulty was to be met. He would ask his hon. friend to admit that there was another side to the question, and to listen to the counterplea of those who considered themselves outraged by anything that interfered in the least degree with absolute religious equality. He 785 would also ask hon. Gentlemen to consider what they seemed to have forgotten, that a very emphatic verdict was given by the country three years ago on this education question. Having made this question one of the special planks of the Unionist platform, the country had most emphatically declared against taking schools out of public control and against tests for teachers. It was idle to suppose, as he thought their hon. friends were supposing, that that verdict could be ignored or forgotten. Two Bills had been introduced, and their failure had induced people to try to let things go on as they were. There had been delay in carrying out what he could not help thinking was a clear mandate from the country, and it was idle to suppose that the State in these days would not be supreme in the schools which it provided, and of which it paid the whole cost. He would ask them to remember that though this measure did affect them very strongly, yet there were points which compensated them to some degree for the losses which they had sustained, and the Bill went further in the direction of justice than anything which had yet been proposed. It gave opportunity for Church teaching in many schools from which it had hitherto been excluded. Whether it would be a lasting settlement, as had been well said on those benches, again and again, must depend on the way in which the Church rose to her new opportunities and undertook the responsibilities which would be cast upon her if this Bill became law. He trusted also that consultation committees in conjunction with the local authorities would result in securing that Cowper-Temple teaching should be definite religious teaching based on the Holy Scriptures, the Lord's Prayer, the Apostle's Creed, and the Ten Commandments, which could not be said to be distinctive of any denomination. Everything depended on that. If they succeeded in securing that, he agreed with his hon. friend the Member for Cambridge University that it should be called fundamental teaching rather than denominational teaching. It was the teaching of the Prayer Book, and the teaching of the baptismal service; the children were to be brought up in the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Com- 786 mandments and the Creed. It did not go to the higher and more difficult portions of Church teaching. The children were to be first fed on pudding, and after a time they would come to meat which was the real basis, and was suited to stronger tastes. It was because the Bill held out a hope of this teaching being enforced in every school by those who were competent to give the teaching that he should give his support to the Second Reading. It was very easy to talk about inequality, and to say that no Bill could ever be satisfactory except that which gave perfect equality to all sects and denominations. He understood that the demand was that the State out of the rates or taxes should provide separate religious teaching for all the different denominations. It was because he thought that was an absolute impossibility that he put aside that very specious plea for absolute equality of treatment. It was true that in Germany and Switzerland there was denominational teaching given by the State, but the circumstances of those countries were very different from ours. They were roughly divided into Catholics and Protestants and certain districts were Catholic and certain were Protestant. They were not mixed up as they were among us with not merely two divisions, but probably five or six or more. Therefore he could not admit that there was any precedent in that matter. They had also to look at the question in the face of what was spoken of as injustice to the Church, and he thought it would be a gross injustice to the Church if she was forced to give up her buildings for inadequate consideration. They had had figures put before them which seemed to show that there was a fair case for reconsideration of these figures when the time came, and he also hoped the grievance under that head would be removed. There was another grievance very prominently put forward, that the Church had to pay for teaching of which it disapproved, and again for the teaching of its own faith. If they admitted, as he had been contending, that they could not disapprove of fundamental teaching based on the simple Christian faith, there was no injustice in their being called upon to pay for that, and to pay specially for further 787 doctrines. His own strong feeling was that if they went for this question of absolute equality it was only to be had by the adoption of the secular system, and it was because the Bill pointed a way of averting that — it might not be the best way and it might not have the success that was hoped for it, but it was a fair and honest attempt to settle the religious question and to keep the schools of the country religious— that he supported the Second Reading.
§ MR. ADKINS (Lancashire, Middleton)
said he thought the speech to which they had just listened would not only command great weight from the character of the right hon. Gentleman, but from the temper and spirit in which it was addressed to a position of unusual gravity and of no little doubt and difficulty. He was quite sure that in so unusual a position, one might well avoid the temptation into which a few Members had fallen of treating the highly vulnerable parts of this proposed settlement with the rhetoric and invective which might be so easily launched against it when they were asked to consider proposals brought forward by the Government in accord with the vast mass of moderate opinion and at the same time in grave difference from previous proposals. It was perfectly obvious that those who in past years had taken any active part in the educational controversy must find many things in these proposals which they not only regretted, but to which they were vehemently opposed. Yet if they allowed themselves to deal with these proposals in a spirit of controversy they knew they would find themselves not merely where they were before the Bill was introduced, but really in a worse position. If this settlement failed, it was not merely that those who in any way supported it would have their flank turned by opponents from their own side, but the failure of the settlement would undoubtedly conduce to embitter this controversy more than ever and to bring a feeling of despair to the minds of all who felt that some working settlement was essential, if the educational progress of the country was to be carried on. They had been asked to consider whether this compromise was likely to make a permanent settle- 788 ment, and for that purpose they were bound to scrutinise carefully the provisions of the Bill and to ask themselves whether they really carried out this compromise. As he understood, here was a proposal in the first place to have publicly controlled schools in every part of the country. That was a proposal for which, upon grounds apart from religious controversy, educationalists had for years been looking forward. Even those who on grounds of highest conscience had maintained with ardour existing non-provided schools in rural districts had often in moments of candour admitted. that that involved grave administrative difficulties. Accordingly to those who came to the consideration of this Bill from the point of view of practical administration and from the civic point of view, first of all, the main principle of the Bill, that there should be a popularly managed school within the reach of every child in all parts of the country, was so great an educational step in advance that it might well make them anxious to go as far as possible in other directions of concession, if only that could be secured. The other part of the compromise, as he understood it, was that there should be in all the schools thus popularly managed, facilities for special religious teaching. They would have to ask themselves in Committee whether these facilities were on the one hand genuine and adequate, and on the other hand fully guarded against the character of the school being changed by means of them. When they heard in one part of the House a forecast that these facilities would be of no value, and from the other side a forecast that they would be used so extensively as to undermine the national system, they were bound in the interests of a permanent settlement to see how far they could secure that parents who really spontaneously wanted those facilities for their children should have them, and at the same time secure that no pressure should be put on the teacher, that no unneedful disorganisation should come upon the school, and that it should not be made easy for persons to proselytise by these opportunities. It would be very desirable if the regulations governing these facilities could be embodied in the Act itself, because 789 from whatever point of view they approached this settlement they were most anxious that there should be as little ambiguity as possible. He hoped the Minister for Education would consider whether it was not possible for Parliament to know, before it passed the Bill, exactly what regulations were intended in order to see that those facilities were genuine and yet guarded against all abuse. In the next place he thought that if those were the principles of the Bill—and they considered that the principle of having a school of a public type within the reach of every child was the main principle of the Bill—and if facilities were only to be given to persons who genuinely desired them, and given in a way which, in one sense, was subordinate to the normal life of the school, but in an equally true sense was specially adapted to special needs—if those principles commended themselves to the House, then they were free to consider how far the carrying-out of those methods did or did not conflict with those religious ideals which on their better side had done so much to elevate education, and on their worse had done so much to embitter it. He hoped the House would not attach too much importance to the grave though perfectly honest fears expressed by Members on both sides of the House. After all, the agreement on religious matters which had been come to by most of the trusted leaders of Nonconformity on the one side and was obtaining the support of the bishops of the Anglican Church on the other, was an agreement in which neither religious community was entitled to say it had been sold or given away. It was quite inconceivable that on the purely religious aspect of this problem those who had great authority and knowledge and had devoted their lives to the religious aspect of their affairs were going to agree upon something which in their judgment really involved a sacrifice which it was not conscientious to make. He agreed that it was not for theologians or divines to lay down principles of educational administration. Therefore he based his guarded and anxious support of this Bill on the ground, first of all, that the administrative principles it laid down appeared to be on the whole worth, supporting; and in the second 790 place, because the religious aspects of the question had apparently been harmoniously arranged, and that fact was entitled to carry the very greatest weight. He very rarely troubled the House with a discussion of the purely religious aspects of this question, but he would like to say a word or two in reply to speeches of great power and obvious sincerity which had come from the representatives of the Labour Party. The hon. Member for Leicester and the hon. Member for Norwich were both supporters of the secular solution, and they had made very little of and minimised in every way the religious value of Cowper-Temple teaching or denominational teaching under the ordinary conditions of elementary school life. The great value of the Government plan was that they would have taught in the schools, as in practice was being done now, not religion in any full sense, but that on which religion could be based. At any rate there would be instruction given to the children in that great story of the life and death of Christ, which had altered the life of humanity during the last 1,900 years, and with which everyone in this country ought to be acquainted at as early an age as possible. Unless children became acquainted with it at an early time they would find it a disadvantage in after years when they would have to put their own interpretation upon it. He had only one other word to say. He supported the compromise at this stage, but he could not conceal from himself the fact that this compromise was one in which those who held opinions such as he had held for years on this subject were giving up to the very extreme that which they could give, even for the sake of peace and for the sake of a settlement. In Committee he claimed that they were entitled to discuss whether the clauses of the Bill actually carried out the settlement which had been advocated by his right hon. friend the President of the Board of Education. If this settlement was disturbed in any material particular, if there were more concessions made by those who placed the highest importance on public control and the absence of privilege, then the compromise would be sure to break down. He had no words of hostile 791 criticism to apply to his hon. friends who felt it was their duty to support a Motion for the rejection of the Bill. He felt certain that behind them there was a considerable body of public opinion, and all he wished to say upon that point was that the settlement proposed had gone to the extreme limit. With a full sense that he would be doing his duty to the House and to his constituency he intended to vote for the Second Reading of this Bill. He should, nevertheless, watch with the utmost concern the progress of the Bill through Committee, and he should retain absolute freedom of action upon the subsequent stages of the Bill. If the hopes of peace came to fruition, he was sure they would all be delighted, but this could only happen if on both sides of the House the greatest restraint were practised, and if the basis of the settlement remained unmodified.
§ SIR HENRY CRAIK (Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities)
said the hon. Member who had just sat down had addressed his speech chiefly to his colleagues on the other side of the House. That speech indicated that the hon. Member had persuaded himself with some difficulty to support this Bill. He was himself compelled to announce with deep regret that he was obliged to divide himself from the right hon. Baronet who spoke from the bench beside him, for he could not support the Bill. He was aware that in a great debate like this it was only fair that each hon. Member should direct himself to one aspect only of the many points which arose throughout this Bill. It was a great responsibility which they all recognised for anyone to resist what apparently appeared to be a movement towards peace. They had heard exhortations which had moved them strongly in that sense, and he would be the last person to doubt the sincerity of those exhortations, or the motives which prompted them. He was struck, in listening to the President of the Board of Education, with one curious change in his speech as it proceeded. At the beginning of his speech the right hon. Gentleman referred to those on both sides who found difficulty in agreeing to this Bill as swash-bucklers, but at the 792 close of his speech he spoke of them as those who were the most conscientious Members of each Party.
§ SIR HENRY CRAIK
said the right hon. Gentleman, at any rate, attributed the difficulties which had arisen to the swashbucklers.
§ MR. RUNCIMAN
What I said was that during the last ten years of strife the only people who had thoroughly enjoyed themselves were the swashbucklers.
§ SIR HENRY CRAIK
thought those who held most conscientious convictions on this subject were entitled to greater respect. He felt bound to say that whatever the exhortations for conciliation might be, and whatever motives might prompt them, he had his doubts of a reconciliation which had not been brought about upon sound and strongly held principles, but arose in a great measure from boredom. They had been told that the country had been bored to death with this question, and it ought to be settled in some way or another. He was opposed to any reconciliation made from mere weariness. The point he wished to direct attention to was whether the interests of real sound administration of education which were not likely to go to the wall from a huddled up reconciliation between two fundamentally irreconcilable standpoints. The Secretary to the Admiralty had told them how essential it was that they should advance in education, and he quite agreed with him. It did not, however, do any good to exaggerate or to use very high-sounding words about the great work that had been done inside the schools. On the whole, he was inclined to think that education in their schools was something which those sitting on the Opposition side desired to advance just as much as the Secretary to the Admiralty. For over 100 years, the Secretary to the Admiralty said, they had been fighting this question of religion in the schools. He wondered whether the hon. Member had found out when 793 the connection of the State with education began. That connection commenced exactly seventy-six years ago. It was in the year 1832 that grants were made by Lord John Russell to education, and it was a curious fact that for exactly one half of that period—namely, thirty-eight years—they carried on education without any Education Acts at all. Before 1870 they did not have any of those great disputes about religion. He had made himself acquainted with this subject because it happened to be his duty to do so, and he was fully acquainted with the provisions of the various Minutes of the Education Department from 1832 to 1870. He was absolutely ignorant of any sign in those minutes of those acute disputes which the hon. Member opposite had cited. On the contrary, gradually step-by-step their administration became more liberal. The national school system was extended to the Catholic schools and to the British schools, as the schools of the Nonconformists were then called, and before 1870 the necessity of a connection with any religious communion was done away with. The advance in education made between 1832 and 1870 without any Acts of Parliament was proportionately as great as it had been from 1870 to 1908. In fact a great deal of their difficulties had been caused by the disputes which had arisen from the Acts of Parliament which had been passed dealing with education. An Act of Parliament was necessary for certain administrative reasons because they had to establish local authorities, and they had to confer upon them the right to raise an education rate. But what, after all, were the Education Acts? They were not really Education Acts but administrative provisions. Mr. Speaker had held over and over again that educational directions were matters for the administration of the Department and for the Code, and not matters that ought to be dealt with in the Education Acts at all. What was the first principle which had thus emerged out of the disputes over these Education Acts? It was one of which they heard much in 1906, and it was that there should be no duality in schools, but one unity of administration. Where had that gone 794 now? He himself saw no need of it in 1906, and he had not pledged himself to that shibboleth. The other day the Under-Secretary for the Colonies made a speech in which he said that "the greater variety the better, and that nothing could be worse than one fixed immutable type of school." Those were the very words which he himself used in 1906 and for which he was denounced. Was unity the ideal now? Duality was expressly allowed in the management under this Bill. Another principle was no tests for teachers. He made bold to say that there never had been a test for any man to become a teacher since certificates were first granted. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Well, was any religious test or examination required for a man who desired a certificate? The Department had no right to ask what his religion was. A certificate might be granted to a Buddhist or a Mussulman. But if they inserted a provision in the Bill enabling the teacher to volunteer to give certain religious instruction, local education authorities would appoint teachers whose views were in accordance with their own in this matter, and so long as human nature continued to be what it was, he contended that that would be a test. If he were a member of a local education authority at this moment he would endeavour to secure the appointment of a man who would carry on the teaching in accordance with his own views, and he was certain hon. Members opposite in a like position would take the same course. If a Mussulman obtained a certificate from the Department, was it the least likely that he would find a post under the London Education Authority, or would an Anglican obtain a post under a Nonconformist education authority?
§ MR. LUPTON (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
We should give the appointment to the best man regardless of his private religious views.
§ SIR HENRY CRAIK
said the last of the principles which had emerged in these disputes about Education Bills, was that they were to have public control. That had become a sort of shibboleth, but it was one the importance of which might be exaggerated. They had been told a 795 great deal about the excellence of the educational system in Germany. Was there public control there? Everyone desired that education should be as efficient as it could be made, but he did not think anyone cared a straw whether it was given under public control or not. The former contentions of the Liberal Party that there should be no duality or variety in schools, and that there should be public control of all schools, were abstract theories, formed in discussing the administrative provisions of Education Bills, and had given way one after another when they were examined. Now the Government were attempting to make a compromise which would cripple education and make fetters for their own hands, for the Department, for the local authorities, and for the teachers. Did the right hon. Gentleman intend that the fixed grants were to apply only to the contracting-out schools?
§ MR. RUNCIMAN
If my hon. friend had read the Schedule he would know that they apply to the contracting-out schools. The other schools are dealt with under the Memorandum circulated by my predecessor in February last.
§ SIR HENRY CRAIK
said he knew quite well that in the form in which the Bill was presented they applied only to contracting-out schools, but what he wanted to know was whether they were limited to those schools. Was the elasticity which had existed hitherto in other schools to go on? If so, would that be fair treatment to the contracting-out schools which were represented by hon. Members below the gangway? The managers and teachers would be fettered by the proposals now made. There had been faults and defects in connection with past educational methods in Scotland as well as in England, but if there was one thing of which Scotland was entitled to be proud it was the old parish school which made the youth of that country for generations what they were. The parochial teacher in the past had become the proverbial type of a good teacher. How would the right hon. Gentleman have been treated if he had attempted to say to one of these parochial teachers that he should have no part in the giving of religious 796 instruction to the children, and that somebody else would come in at a certain hour to give that instruction in a particular prescribed form? He ventured to say that such an attempt would have been strongly resented. They were told sometimes that the schoolmaster was the man who formed the character of the child, but if they took out of his hands that part of instruction which went to form character, how was that influence to be exercised in future? Religion was not the only thing on which there might be difference of opinion. Were they going to extend their limitations to such questions as temperance, tariff reform, and free trade? There might be members of local authorities holding fanatical views on these and other questions, and they might wish to appoint teachers who would advance their views. Once they began to interfere with the freedom of a school they would not be able to stop at religion; they would be forced to apply the same reasoning in connection with other subjects. He held no brief for sectarians of one kind or another, but he was deeply interested in the future free development of the schools. He concurred with what the Leader of the Opposition said earlier in the evening, namely, that they could settle these disputes solely by giving perfectly equal treatment. He thought they must not only give perfectly equal treatment, but they must give perfect freedom. He had been referred to as the Member who first of all moved an Amendment in favour of contracting-out. When he Aid so he had not the support of his hon. friends on this side, and, although the Leader of the Opposition made a sympathetic speech on the subject, he did not get his support. Matters had developed in the direction he had indicated, and it was with a feeling of pride that he found the Secretary to the Admiralty supporting a proposal which he formerly described as the worst expedient which could possibly be adopted. But there was contracting-out and contracting-out. He wished a contracting-out which would be fair and equal to both sides. He did not wish a form of contracting-out under which certain schools would be selected and others excluded. He should then leave these local authorities absolute 797 freedom. It was on these grounds that he felt bound to vote against the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ MR. WILLIAM JONES (Carnarvonshire, Arfon)
said that the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down knew very well the history of education in Scotland, but he did not understand the history of the development of education in England; otherwise he would not have made the statement that these religious wranglings and ecclesiastical squabbles had not impaired the efficiency of real and effective education in this country. Apparently the hon. Gentleman had never heard of the Cockerton judgment, which had impaired the efficiency of the school board and had certainly interfered with the efficiency of education. That judgment was obtained by people who went in for denominationalism in the interests of the denominations.
§ SIR HENRY CRAIK
said he did not think that the Cockerton judgment had anything to do with denominationalism.
§ MR. WILLIAM JONES
said that they knew who was responsible for that judgment. It was not obtained in the interests of the London School Board, but purely from sectarian rivalry.
§ SIR HENRY CRAIK
asked if the hon. Member suggested that the permanent official of the Local Government Board who stopped these payments was moved by sectarian feeling?
§ MR. WILLIAM JONES
said that the whole inquiry was moved by sectarian feeling which had been going on for years. Thousands of Church parents in London were perfectly satisfied with what had been going on before the Cockerton judgment, and had freely paid their rates. He had only referred to this to show that it was because of these ecclesiastical and denominational issues that the real trend of educational development in this country had been arrested; and that that was why we were so far behind some of the other countries in Europe. There was a desire on both sides to support the compromise embodied in the Bill. He meant to vote for the Second 798 Reading, although he could not say that he liked some of its provisions. During the controversy of 1902, he, in common with many of his colleagues, tried to get something not unlike this compromise, knowing that without it they might go on for generations neglecting the best interests of education. The hon. Member for Mayo, he well renumbered, wanted, in the interest of the children, to allow representatives of the parents on the Education Committee; but the right hon. Gentleman opposite went into the lobby against the proposal. The fact was that they had had no real education debate in the House at all for a long time. He was not blaming educationists on the other side; but he had not heard a speech with a real grasp of the interest of the children since the days of Mr. Acland and Sir John Gorst. In this House every Education Minister had been crippled owing to the fact of these controversial issues between Anglicans, Catholics, and Nonconformists. Personally he had always been a believer in religious education. He was not for secularism. He had been in some places in England and Wales where Catholics and Anglicans had united to frame a syllabus based on the Christian faith, suitable to meet the desires of the parents, and to be taught to the children. He could never see the possibility of the Catholic schools coming into the great unity to obtain a fully national system of education; and for the reason that they must have, and always had had historically, a different system under which the authority of their Church was supreme. He did not blame them for that; he blamed no man, whether Anglican, broad Churchman, low Church-man, or Catholic for believing in the authority of his Church. His regret was that the Catholics could not enter into the national system, because they believed that their Church must be the dominant factor in the whole education of their children. He respected them for their convictions, and he admired them for the sacrifices they had made for these convictions. He was delighted to find the development they had made in the training of their teachers, and the facilities they granted some of their teachers to attend lectures in Universities and University Colleges. 799 In spite of some progress like this the nation had still those ecclesiatical difficulties between it and the highest training of the teacher and the development of the continuation schools. The most of the time of the permanent officials at the Board of Education was taken up with these ecclesiastical difficulties. Combatants on both sides who had fought furiously, each looking at the question from their own point of view, now desired to call a truce. He know it would be said that the Chancellor of the Exchequer who had fought so valiantly in these educational struggles could not possibly be a good conciliator. But had the right hon. Gentleman not shown himself to be a wise and tactful conciliator in various disputes? More than that, two or three years ago the right hon. Gentleman was in treaty with a Welsh bishop and they would have come to a pacific compromise which would have settled the education question for a whole generation but for outside interference. What had happened now? His right hon. friend the Minister for Education, as representative of the Government, had entered into communication with the Nonconformists and with the Primate of all England; and was met in a spirit of conciliation. He heartily congratulated both the representatives of the Anglicans and the Nonconformists. The Primate ought to know what the majority of his Church wanted. He knew there was a small minority of High Anglicans who were against compromise and they might contract-out, but there were thousands more who would come into this great unity in order to secure a national system. He looked upon this arrangement as a step forward towards getting more education for our children along the right line. He would deal generously with his Catholics friends. He had discussed the question with members of their Hiearchy, but had failed to get anything like a true understanding with them that they could ever in England and Wales, as things were, enter into a truly national system. Well, apart from these Catholic friends, the combatants on either side had come to the point of forgetting to intensify their difficulties in way of a settlement. They had come to acknowledge that there was another standpoint than their own. They had sufficient 800 imagination to see that their enemy might become their friend. The Nonconformists had seen that there was a Church case, and the Church had seen that there was a Nonconformist case, and by doing that they helped to clear the way and open a broad avenue for educational development —a development which seemed so close now, but which before stood so far off. He meant educational development, not only in the elementary schools, but in the continuation schools similar to that which had taken place in the schools of Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and America. He wanted more power given to the Education Department. There were some of the most expert educationists in the country in the Department who knew everything that was best with regard to education in other countries as well as at home; and he hoped, when the religious controversies had been settled by this compromise, that his right hon. friend, who was young, capable, and enthusiastic, would be able to turn his attention in the future to the development of those great educational problems. There were several practical problems before us before we could compare with Germany, Switzerland or Denmark. For thoroughness of method he thought we were in advance of many of them, and he had seen some of the best schools in America as well as in Germany and other Continental countries. He had examined them pretty studiously, and had come into close contact with the directors and teachers. American and Continental experts all agreed that for thoroughness of method we were equal to anybody, but the average was not raised. The continuation period was cut short, and we wanted to deal with the most critical period in the child's life between fourteen and seventeen or fourteen and eighteen. What were we doing for our children during that period of adolescence? It appeared to him that our education system was crippled in its endeavour, to those needs. It was important, for the sake of all, that this religious difficulty should be settled. This proposal would settle the teachers problem, because the overwhelming majority would come into the same category, and would derive the same advantages and 801 the contracting-out schools would grow less and less. In the course of every year it was an alarming fact that more than 500,000 children in England and Wales left the public elementary schools at thirteen or fourteen years of age, and not more than one out of three of those children received in point of general or technical education any further systematic course of instruction. That was the most critical period in a child's life, and, instead of taking the great question in hand, hon. and right hon. Gentlemen had been, squabbling about their ecclesiastical differences. They forgot the great period of adolescence, but he thought they ought to put their minds and their hearts together to settle this question in the interests of citizenship. Let them certainly give a child religious education, and he should like some of his English friends to come to gallant little Wales and see how they gave religious education to the children there and how they continued that religious education throughout life. Religious education was not merely given in schools, and sometimes it was not given there at all. In three or four counties at one time it was not given at all in the schools, but those counties were the most crimeless counties in Wales, and sacrificed more for education, elementary, secondary and University, than any others that one could see throughout the whole realm. The quarrymen and peasants of Carnarvonshire, Cardiganshire and Merionethshire had fine Sunday schools, and their scholars never left them. He wished some friends of his in the House would come to their schools and see children, parents, and grandparents all taught together, and at night in their homes they would see sometimes the father writing an essay on some scriptural subject in competition with his own son. That was what happened constantly, and that was the way to look to the religious education of the children, not to leave them when they were thirteen years of age to become hobbledehoys and irreverent corner boys. Therefore, in the interest of peace and of education, some basis should be secured under which progress could be made with this problem. They had helped Scotland to get it, and nobody was more 802 glad than he was, as he said in the Grand Committee, than to see continuity of education being made compulsory under the Bill for Scotland. We also wanted it for England, and Wales. He did not mean that they should have a system of evening classes just for certain boys and girls of thirteen or fourteen, but they should have a continuous course of education. To work them by day and then suppose that they could get something into their minds at night was not, however, the way to conduct education in this country. Some employers had opened continuation schools for their apprentices, not after an irksome day's toil, but on some afternoon in the week. They had sent them to these schools without reducing their wages, and the result was that the lads became better labourers, better citizens, and more manly men. If they could only got this sectarian issue out of the way as he hoped they would by this compromise, and that was why he believed in it, if they could get hon. Gentlemen from all sides of the House to join together to help to complete the ladder of real education for real citizenship, for science and for the best equipment of the nation, then they would have better training of teachers, a better method of joining the elementary schools with the secondary and higher and technical schools, as well as build up a. system of continuation schools. That was why he wanted the Labour Members to join. Let them look at the half-time system in the textile industries in Yorkshire and Lancashire. Could anybody there defend it? The work was irksome and the task in the school became drudgery. What happened? It whittled away the best of human nature. Let them think of the children and of the nation, and use this compromise as a bridge and solve this question once for all. Let them quench this ecclesiastical brand in order that the educationist and the schoolmaster might bring their best and highest influences to bear upon the children of our schools.
§ MR. LANE-FOX (Yorkshire, W.R., Barkston Ash)
said the House was always pleased to welcome the eloquence of the hon. Member who had just addressed it, and if he could agree with 803 him that under this Bill they had an absolute safeguard of a real settlement, as he hoped, and if he could also believe as the hon. Member seemed to, that there would be an opportunity of better secondary and higher education and of better training of teachers, that would be a very great inducement to him to give it his support. He would like, however, to remind the hon. Gentleman that those subjects, which were, perhaps, the most urgent portions of our educational system, were not touched in any sense by this Bill.
§ MR. WILLIAM JONES
pointed out that this Bill might be used as a bridge to them. That was all he said.
§ MR. LANE-FOX
said he wished to call attention to the fact that the question of secondary and higher education was not touched by this Bill. The hon. Member for Louth in a most illuminating speech complained that he had not been brought into negotiation in connection with this settlement, and one wished very much that he had been, because if he had made his speech to the Archbishops and Bishops, he thought they would have received much more charity than they had done, the result of the negotiations. He did not wish to suggest that anything that had been done by hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side had been actuated by anything but the most absolute sincerity and a desire to solve this question. He gave them full credit for that. Nobody could pretend that they were doing any good in the constituencies or winning votes. Nobody could suppose that they were wishing to gain electoral advantages, and he learned that already one Member had been burned in effigy in his constituency. He gave them all credit for trying to meet and settle this very difficult question, but there was, he thought, less absolute urgency in regard to it than hon. Members assumed. The hon. Member for Camberwell spoke of the great advance which Germany had made for years past in this matter of education. It was true that advances had been made in technical and higher education, but it was elementary education to which alone this Bill applied, and it was in elementary education alone that the 804 Church of England had done such a great work. The hon. Member who seconded the rejection of the Bill, and also the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Islington, an ex-member of the Government, laid stress on the fact that this religious difficulty was not a serious question in the school itself. As the hon. Member who seconded the Motion said, it was a matter for parties and for the platform, but it was not a matter which had entered largely into our schools. He thought that when they were asked to accept this compromise because it was supposed to be one which was satisfactory to the Church of England, they should look at the last letter written by the Archbishop of Canterbury on this subject, in which he said that although the bishops of the Church assented to it, one limb of the body was paralysed. Supposing he was engaged in selling the President of the Board of Education a horse—which he should never try to do, because the right hon. Gentleman was much cleverer than he was, and would have the better of it— but supposing for the sake of argument that was the case. Supposing he sold the horse and the very next day he wrote and told him that one limb of the animal was paralysed, he supposed in the ordinary practice of horse dealing the right hon. Gentleman could refuse to carry out the bargain. Until the Government were able to show that the bargain had been absolutely carried out they must abide by that declaration that one limb of the body was paralysed. That was one of the grounds upon which he was going to vote against the Bill. Several Members were going to vote in favour of it, not because they believed in it, but because they believed in the ideal behind it. If the Government improved the Bill, as he hoped they would, on the Committee stage, he would on the Third Reading have an opportunity of voting for it if he desired to do so. The Bishop of London in his letter had dwelt upon the advantages which the Church of England would gain by the Bill. As to the right of entry, the whole thing depended upon whether it was going to be real. It was not quite so much a matter of what use the Church would make of the right of entry, as what the local authority 805 would allow that right of entry to be. Upon that depended the question of whether this was really a valuable set off to the undoubted loss which the Church must suffer in her control and prestige and in her power. In the whole of the rural districts they lost the inestimable advantage, from the point of view of those who valued denominational teaching, of having that instruction given by the head teacher, and there was also the loss of the appointment of teachers. It seemed to him obvious that this was a very serious loss indeed for the Church. He was the last person in the world to say a word against the clergyman of this country, but a man might be most excellently qualified to be a parish priest, but he might not be able to take a class of unruly boys; and if, under the right of entry, the teaching was to be given by outside teachers, it was not going to be of any serious or real value to those who received it. It was also not going to be good for the conduct of the school, but bad for discipline, and all the objections which had been so strongly emphasised by the teachers of the country were, he thought, likely to be found to be true. By what possible right did the Government deny the same right of contracting-out to the rural districts that they gave to the urban? The rural schools would lose every considerably from the Church point of view by this Bill, and hon. Gentlemen did not realise how much that loss appealed to those who believed in denominationalism. The Bill undoubtedly established a new form of State religion, and he wanted to know why the bishops and archbishops had ventured to put such a strong argument in favour of disestablishment in the mouths of those who would use it. But the most important question of all was what did right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite really mean. He gave them absolute credit for wanting to settle this question in the best interests of everybody, but he wanted to know what was at the back of the mind of the hon. Gentlemen behind the Government who were going to vote for this Bill. Were they voting for it as what was called an instalment or what Dr. Clifford had called quite a definite approach 806 to his ideal, or were they going to carry out this compromise in a genuine, honest, and uncompromising spirit? They had only had one Member for Wales speaking. Were the whole of the council schools in Wales really going to be thrown open? Was the Church teacher to be welcomed in those schools and equal opportunities to be given to all the children in the Welsh schools, and were the children of one denomination to be treated on an equality with the children of another? They had not heard that stated by representatives from either Wales or Yorkshire. Was it intended to carry out this compromise in a generous and full spirit? Was any hon. Gentleman prepared to get up and stake his faith that if this Bill came into law there would be absolute equality of opportunity for the Church in every school? The right of entry would be absolutely what the local authority made it. The local authorities might say that the teacher was required for the general conduct of the school; that there was no accommodation available; that they had not proved their desires in accordance with the regulations. Although the House was told these regulations were necessary nobody knew what might happen. Experience in the past had taught them that the appeal to the Board of Education would be worthless, because the Board of Education would find themselves in the position of not being able to do what they would like to do. They had an illustration of that in the West Riding case. A teacher, when appointed to be manager of a school was refused the appointment by the local authority on educational grounds. The education authority had no chance to refuse to appoint except on educational grounds. Under pressure of the National Union of Teachers that man had now been appointed by the same education authority to a bigger school at a larger salary, but the Board of Education would not or could not reverse the original decision of the education authorities. There were in this Bill not one, but many, loopholes far bigger than that in the Act of 1902 through which the education authorities could drive a coach and four if they wanted to make this right of entry impossible. The assistant teacher would 807 have to volunteer. In a hostile area what teacher would dare to volunteer? What about the pressure which would be put upon him by those who did not wish him to volunteer? There would be two questions to consider when a teacher volunteered. He was not going to be paid for this teaching; the particular denomination was going to pay a fine in relief of the local rates, and that was done undoubtedly so that there should not be any advantage with the teacher who had volunteered to give the teaching. The question of the single-school areas hit the Church far harder than the Roman Catholics for the reason that there were very few Roman Catholic schools in these areas. There was one other question to which he would like to refer, and that was the question of paying the expenses of the new schools in the county areas. In the West Riding they had suffered very heavily by this. The large number of school places in excess of those required owing to the shifting of the population had hit them very greatly in the rural districts; at the present time they were paying, for this reason, twice the amount necessary for school accommodation in rural village. They were told that the Church schools were dying, and that these were the best terms that could be given. All he could say was that if these were the best terms they could get, and if the terms that were given to them were not to be a reality, they had better stick to what they had got earlier than lay down their arms, and get nothing at all. And that was the position they were prepared to take up.
§ SIR BRAMPTON GURDON (Norfolk, N.)
hoped the House would bear with him for a moment, because he did not speak one word through all the interminable debates on the Licensing Bill. He was very much exercised on the present Bill. On the one hand he could not bear to vote in favour of the right of entry, which he felt to be very wrong; and on the other he could not bear to vote against public control of rural schools, and the abolition of tests for teachers, whilst in the third place he did not like walking out. He hoped, however, that the right of entry would not be much used, and that it would 808 perhaps fall into disuse. He knew what sort of pressure would be brought to bear upon people, and regarded with horror the idea of a Church of England rector, and perhaps two or three Nonconformist ministers, possibly even a Roman Catholic priest or a Jewish Rabbi; going round the parish with petitions demanding denominational education. They all knew how easy signatures were obtained to petitions. Even Members sometimes signed petitions which they knew nothing about. These petitions would all be signed by every parent in the parish. It was a great gain that no public money would be allocated to denominational teaching; but he thought there should be a small rent charged for the time the schools were used for denominational education. Great as was his objection to this right of entry, he acknowledged that to get popular control in all the single school areas was a very great advantage. He should have been very pleased if it had been as in the old days of the elected school boards, when people were encouraged to take an interest in the management of the schools. He wished to say that he thought a great mistake was made as to the number of Church of England schools. He knew that in his part of the country a great many were squire schools. They were built by the squire of the parish, most of them in the fir it half of the last century. They were never intended to be denominational schools, but the Church of England in the old days was very evangelical, and there was no objection to its teaching; it was only in the last few years that, with the spread of the Romanising thought, objections had arisen. A great many of what were called Church schools now did not, therefore, really belong to the Church. Another great advantage was that there would be the abolition of tests'; and, taking all these considerations together, he had come to the conclusion that it was his duty to vote for the Bill. He owned he wished a bolder line had been taken. He would have liked to have seen a Bill which would have defined an elementary school as a school over which there was perfect, absolute control, in which simple Bible-teaching should be given, and that it should have been enacted that no other school should 809 receive public money. Such a Bill might have been thrown out by the Lords, but they might have retorted by refusing to vote the grant. Failing that, he thought they must adopt this Bill, despite its great faults. There was, of course, the alternative of the secular solution. The hon. Member for Leicester brought that forward strongly yesterday; and, when he heard that most devout Nonconformists and a great many clergy of the Church of England were all equally in favour of secular education, he must say that he felt almost shaken in his opposition of last year. He was rather afraid, however, that it would engender rivalry amongst the different denominations and make them apt to insist too much upon their own particular doctrines and not enough upon fundamental principles. The hon. Member put forward a most extraordinary plea for secular education. He asked what was the use of religious instruction three-quarters of an hour every day. He thought it was acknowledged by all experts in education that three-quarters of an hour was quite long enough in which to keep a child occupied on one subject. He did not suppose any parent gave more than half an hour or three-quarters at the most each day to the religious education of his child, and after all, that was the best instruction in religion which the child could receive.
§ MR. C. J. O'DONNELL (Newington, Walworth)
said he hoped the House would give him an opportunity to speak. He spoke on neither of the two previous Bills; and, as the only Catholic Member for London, he claimed to voice the feelings of his community. He wished he could join in the felicitations of both sides of the House on this arrangement. He appreciated it as much as any non-Protestant could; but he felt that in this matter the Catholic schools were paying the price. He regarded it from the standpoint of educational efficiency. They were told by hon. Members on both sides of the House that they had sacrificed much, opinions and principles. The Catholics were sacrificing money, a very important thing. The Catholic school was the earthen vessel that had been smashed between these jangling Protestant pots. There were in London 30,000 pupils in the Catholic schools. At 810 present the average grant was 75s. whereas the school board grant was 123s. The Catholic pupils were therefore put in a position of extreme inferiority. It was proposed by the Bill still further to reduce that small grant from 75s. to 50s. The Catholic schools would thus receive two-fifths of what the board schools received. This Bill affected the honour of the Liberal Party. He saw that one of the Manchester Members only yesterday referred to the increased grant given to the Catholic schools. He had looked through the pledges given by Lancasshire Members, and he found that without exception they gave the pledge that in the settlement of the education question the Catholic schools should not suffer. The Catholic schools were suffering; they were being degraded by the Liberal Party from the position given them by the Leader of the Opposition It was quite true they were not as efficient as the board schools, but they had been steadily rising; and it had fallen to the Liberal Party to associate themselves with an act of religious persecution, to push down the Catholic schools into the old slough of despond, and to deprive them of the advantage which the Conservative Party had given them. There was something peculiarly unbecoming in a democratic party doing this great injury to the children of the poor. He did not wish to intrude long on the attention of the House, but he was separating himself from his party, and he did it with extreme regret. Three years ago, when he was elected a Liberal Member, he naturally thought it impossible to find the Liberal Party doing this wrong to the poor of any community. It would be very easy indeed to escape from this wrong. The Bill brought in in 1906 by the present Chief Secretary was adopted practically by every moderate man in the House. The Liberal Party thought this was an admirable solution of the question. Why did not they bring in that Education Bill again as they did with the Scottish Bills? Why had they brought in this thing, which was an agreement between a most rev. prelate and one or two gentlemen on this side? Why did not the Government bring in that measure again, or at least the fourth clause of it, instead of the present measure, which, by a back-door arrangement, would 811 force Catholics into a position of inefficiency and inferiority? Why should the children of Catholics, who had to carry out every duty of citizens, be put in a position of inferiority? The Catholic soldier fought for his country, and when he came back and settled in London or Liverpool, why should he have his children deprived of the advantages that every other citizen of the country received? Being forced by these considerations to vote against his Government, he thought it was his duty plainly and vigorously to state the reasons that influenced him.
§ LORD WILLOUGHBY DE ERESBY (Lincolnshire, Horncastle)
said that though he did not often find himself in accord with the views of Gentlemen opposite, he certainly intended to vote for the Second Reading of this Bill. The hon. Member for Barkston Ash said he believed the right of entry clauses were not strong enough and were not a reality, and he would vote against the Second Reading, but if he found in Committee that they were a reality he would vote for the Third Reading. He (Lord Willoughby de Eresby) hoped by voting for the Second Reading to find out in Committee whether the right of entry clauses were a reality or not, and if they were not he should vote against the Third Reading, which appeared to be a rather more sensible line to take up. He had never for a moment sympathised with the passive resistance movement. He had always recognised that the last Conservative Education Act was a compromise. The Church at that time made very large concessions, and equally Nonconformists did not get all they wanted. When the passive resistance movement started he considered it had very small grounds of justification, for the simple reason that owing to the fact that all the rates were paid into a common county fund, no man could possibly state that the money he paid in was paid to a particular school. For all he knew it might be spent on some council school or Nonconformist school. No man could say he was paying for a religion of which he disapproved. He had, on the other hand, always felt, especially in rural districts, that 812 there was a very real grievance among those who held strong Nonconformist views that they should be bound to send their children to a school where, according to them, the Church atmosphere prevailed. He thought this grievance was largely exaggerated on the platform, but at the same time he recognised that at the last election there undoubtedly was among the electors a very strong feeling that fairness was not being meted out all round, and that there should be some change in the system of religious instruction. He had always thought the only two possible solutions of this difficulty were right of entry or the secular solution. He believed it would be a very serious day indeed for this country when religion was banished from our schools. He should certainly support this proposal for the right of entry. If the Church of England did its duty, as it had done in the past, and really was the national Church, it would by the right of entry be able to get to the children in the schools and to teach the religion of the Church of England, which he for one was proud to have been brought up in. If on the other hand the Church was decaying and had not the same vital force, it ought no longer to hold that proud position. It must stand on its merits, and if the regular teachers could not be got to give the instruction, it would be the duty of the clergymen to go and give it if they were really anxious for denominational teaching. It had been said the teachers were opposed to this because it would not make for educational efficiency. He fully believed they ought to pay every attention to teachers' opinion in the matter. No one was more qualified to speak than they, but they spoke with a certain amount of prejudice. They had first of all to consider the schools and the children, and not the teachers. After all, the teacher existed for the school and not the school for the teacher. He therefore hoped the Bill would pass Second Reading, that the right of entry would be made a reality, and that instead of hampering the work of the Church of England it would be an incentive to all churchmen to see that denominational teaching was given in every school throughout the land.
§ MR. HUNT (Shropshire, Ludlow)
said it was allowed by the Liberals that this was a very difficult Bill to understand. They had made it difficult purposely because they wanted to rush it through the House before anybody understood what it meant. They did not want the country to know how bad and unjust a Bill it was. It seemed pretty clear, according to the Minister for Education, that its object was to squeeze out as soon as possible all the voluntary schools. The hon. Member for West Ham had put it very nicely before he joined the Government. He told the House of Laymen that when the Church schools had been undenomination-alised a movement would arise from the same quarter to treat the Church in a similar manner, and the Church of England Members might have a pretty good idea from that what was likely to happen if in a fit of good nature or indolence they let the Bill pass. Let them look at what it meant. The Government was setting up a religion of its own, and it compelled everybody to pay rates for it including rates for new schools for that religion, and it was a religion of which millions of people in this country did not at all approve. In fact, they very much objected to it, and people who did not believe in it were to have large numbers of their schools, with the furniture and apparatus, taken away by force and only paid a very small sum, and this was in spite of its being a compulsory sale. Then with a quite insufficient Government grant some people would have to bear extra financial burdens for their schools, and he thought that included in many cases repairs and religious teaching, whilst they had to pay rates towards the instruction in Government schools of this Government religion. The voluntary schools in the single school areas were in some cases built and endowed by people, more than anything else, so that their particular religion should be taught. What would happen was that on three days a week they would have taught in those schools a religion of which they did not approve, and there was very little chance that they would have their religion taught on the other two days. No child in Government schools need attend any religious instruction at all on any day of the week. There 814 were no religious tests to be applied to teachers at all, so that teachers with no knowledge of religion would be supposed to teach the Cowper-Temple religion or some similar system which might be invented by local authorities. It was not even certain that they would have anybody to give religious instruction at all in those schools. The teachers were not obliged to give it. If they all refused there would be no religion. They could not have religious teaching if there was no one to teach it. But there would be a test all right if a teacher declined to teach it, because teachers who refused would in many cases lose their employment. They put very severe tests on teachers as to geography and arithmetic, but on the question of religion, which was far more important, they had absolutely no test at all. They might be anything. The whole thing was an absolute farce if religious teaching was to be of the slightest value. In Government schools if children were really to have daily religious instruction, they would have an atheist teaching Roman Catholic Church of England children and a Nonconformist teaching Jews, and things might get very awkward. If a Nonconformist teacher with an uncomfortably powerful conscience, and there were such things, was appointed to a Jewish school, he might, like the rider of a certain celebrated and talkative roadster, feel compelled to teach what he believed to be the truth, and might tell his pupils that the Jews were composed mostly of Pharisees and publicans, with the order of merit very much in favour of the publicans. The religious teaching of a vast number of children was going to be sacrificed for the worldly advantage of a very small number of teachers, and he supposed hon. Members opposite called that democratic legislation, whilst it was really the very reverse. He had not been able to make out whether a child could be compelled to go to a contracting-out school or not, but schools which contracted-out were expected to be just as efficient with a very insufficient Government grant as schools which had the rates to lean on. The first Lord of the Admiralty, when he was Minister for Education, when 815 a Catholic deputation visited him, said he did not pretend that the 47s. Government grant would meet even present expenditure. How did he tell the Catholics to get out of it? He suggested that Catholics should get teachers who would come for less money than the teachers in the Government schools, and he admitted there would not only be a large loss of income from public funds, but that it would not cost the Roman Catholics more than £100,000 a year. In his opinion it would cost them a lot more. The right of entry, as he understood it, was practically useless, and apparently the local authority might institute any syllabus it liked. It might very possibly be nothing but simple Bible reading which was no good at all and would merely bore the children. Local Authorities had instituted this kind of teaching before and the probability was that they would do it again. There was a great difference between this country and Germany.' In this country Catholics built schools and the Government did its best to take them away by squeezing them out financially. In Germany the Government built schools for the Catholics wherever and whenever they were wanted. The Minister for Education told them that the only thing which would make the Bill work was the good feeling of the local authorities. It seemed to him that was expecting everybody to behave in a fair and reasonable way. He thought that was certainly not the custom of the Liberal Party generally, or of their Nonconformist supporters in particular. The right hon. Gentleman made a point of the proposal which would confer on contracting-out schools the great ad-vantage of being able to charge fees. That was not free education. The Bill was a clever cunning attempt on the part of Nonconformists to hoodwink the Church of England, and he was afraid that was what had happened to the poor Archbishop of Canterbury. If the Bill passed, the voluntary schools would be gradually wiped out of existence. That was practically admitted by the Minister for Education. He was afraid that the Nonconformist chapel was used in many places more for politics than prayers. The chief origin of Nonconformist dislike and jealousy of the Church 816 of England rested with the Nonconformist ministers. He remembered that on one occasion the Chief Secretary for Ireland told them that Nonconformists were very jealous of the ivy-mantled towers of the Church of England. The chief reason for the attitude taken up by the Nonconformists was a social one, and he was extremely sorry for it. The Church of England parson was reckoned what was called a gentleman. By reason of that he went to the squire's or the lord of the manor's dinner parties, shooting parties, and his wife went to lawn-tennis parties, tea fights, and dances. The Nonconformist minister and his wife were not asked to any of these entertainments. Dr. Guinness Rogers complained in the public Press some time ago that he had never been asked to a single decent country house.
§ MR. HUNT
said he thought what he was going to say had to do with the Bill. He was stating one of the reasons for the religious difficulty. The consequence of all this was that Nonconformist ministers were jealous of Church of England parsons and preached Radicalism and Little Englandism in the pulpit and out of it, by day and night, whenever they got the chance, and this was the very worst policy for the welfare of the working people and for the prosperity of the Empire. He really could not understand how the Church of England leaders could accept anything but a really fair settlement. This Bill certainly was not one. If Church of England people would go on taking everything lying down, they might depend upon it that the Nonconformists would go on kicking them. The members of the Church of England and of the Catholic Church built their schools and gave education long before the State undertook the work of education. That being so, surely they ought to be as well and as fairly treated as Nonconformists. Nonconformists had not done anything like so much for education as the Church of England and the Catholic Church. When the Nonconformists found that they could get their 817 teaching for nothing, they gave up a great number of their schools, and they never had any of the terrible trouble with their consciences until they had to pay rates; The Church of England ought to stand out for fair terms. This Government's driving power was fairly gone. They certainly could not force this Bill into law if it was as resolutely opposed by the Church of England as it would be by Catholics. If it did pass, it would, unless the law was altered by the next Government, undoubtedly mean the destruction of the voluntary schools of the country. That was what the Government meant, and that would most certainly gradually lower the religious instruction in the schools till it was barely worth having. He did not think there was any doubt about it. Nothing could be worse for the country or more likely to lead to the destruction of the nation than to have its children brought up without any real religion. He hoped that none of his hon. friends would either vote for the Bill or abstain from voting against it from any craven fear that it would be a difficult subject for the Unionists when they came into power.
§ MR. NIELD (Middlesex, Ealing)
, who was received with cries of "Divide," said he did not intend to emulate his hon. friend the Member for Ludlow, but he intended to avail himself of the privilege to which he was entitled of speaking on behalf of nearly 25,000 electors. Even if the Government were in such a hurry to push the Bill through, hon. Members opposite might afford him the few moments necessary to enable him to put his views before 818 them. He confessed he approached this measure with very great diffidence, because he might seem to be opposing the Bishop of London. But before he was acquainted with the subsequent views of the right rev. Prelate he felt he was in a very difficult position as to how he should deal with this Bill. [Cries of "Divide."] He was not speaking from a party point of view, but dealing with the Bill from the point of view of practical politics. [Cries of "Divide."] He would stand there until he got a hearing. [Continued cries of "Divide."] He had been interviewed by a most important deputation —a deputation representing all the teachers in his constituency—[Cries of "Divide."]—who pointed out to him that chaos would result in the schools if once this Bill came into operation in their district. "Just imagine the condition the schools would be in," said the deputation, "in our district, assuming that there was a right of entry to all denominations, if the denominational teachers were late in their arrival at the school! It would be impossible to keep order amongst the children." Then the members of the deputation pointed out the enormous difficulties that would arise in the administration of the schools, and they asked what would happen if, in a sudden emergency, the appointed person to give the denominational instruction was unable to come at the appointed time. And they asked him, in the interest of the children and in the interest of education itself, to support any Motion moved in the House that this Bill should be rejected. In the case of schools where mixed religious views were represented, the deputation asked if they 819 as teachers were to scour the neighbourhood to get possession of a certain number of children to make up a sufficiently large number to make a class to whom a particular religious instruction was to be given. He listened to the criticisms of the members of the deputation, who, he was assured, differed very widely in their religious and political opinions, for a very long time, and he said to them: "Well, gentlemen, what is it you propose?" and their reply was "Leave things alone," for the existing
§ condition of things was working admirably. He ventured to think that in view of that opinion by persons who were certainly interested in the education of the young, he was entitled to ask the House to pause before they gave a Second Reading to this Bill.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 323; Noes, 157. (Division List No. 417.)823
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Dobson, Thomas W.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Brunner, Rt. Hn. Sir J. T (Cheshire)||Duckworth, Sir James|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Bryce, J. Annan||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward|
|Armitage, R.||Butcher, Samuel Henry||Essex, R. W.|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Evans, Sir Samuel T.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Byles, William Pollard||Everett, R. Lacey|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Cameron, Robert||Fenwick, Charles|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Ferens, T. R.|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight||Ferguson, R. C. Munro|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A. (Worc.||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Chance, Frederick William||Findlay, Alexander|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Forster, Henry William|
|Barker, Sir John||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Clough, William||Fuller, John Michael F.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Gibb, James (Harrow)|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John|
|Beale, W. P.||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W||Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Glendinning, R. G.|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Corbett, C. H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Gordon, J.|
|Bell, Richard||Cowan, W. H.||Grant, Corrie|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Cox, Harold||Greenwood, Hamar (York)|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S||Griffith, Ellis J.|
|Benn, W. (T'wer Hamlets, S. Geo||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill|
|Bennett, E. N.||Crooks, William||Guinness, W. E. (Bury S. Edm.)|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Cross, Alexander||Gulland, John W.|
|Bertram, Julius||Crossley, William J.||Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Dalziel, Sir James Henry||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Hamilton, Marquess of|
|Black, Arthur W.||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Harcourt, Rt. Hn. L. (Rossendale|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Branch, James||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)|
|Bright, J. A.||Dickinson, W. H.(St. Pancras. N||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)|
|Brooke, Stopford||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Marnham, F. J.||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.||Massie, J.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Menzies, Walter||Snowden, P.|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||Micklem, Nathaniel||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Middlebrook, William||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Hedges, A. Paget||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Molteno, Percy Alport||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||Mond, A.||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Starkey, John R.|
|Henry, Charles S.||Montgomery, H. G.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)||Morrell, Philip||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Higham, John Sharp||Morse, L. L.||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Holden, E. Hopkinson||Murray, Capt. Hn A. C. (Kincard.||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Myer, Horatio||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hooper, A. G.||Napier, T. B.||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Newnes, Sir George (Swansea)||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Nicholls, George||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E|
|Hyde, Clarendon||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Idris, T. H. W.||Norman, Sir Henry||Tillett, Louis John|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Tomkinson, James|
|Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Toulmin, George|
|Jackson, R. S.||Nuttall, Harry||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Parkes, Ebenezer||Ure, Alexander|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Partington, Oswald||Verney, F. W.|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Paul, Herbert||Villiers, Ernest Amherst|
|Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Paulton, James Mellor||Vivian, Henry|
|Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Perks, Sir Robert William||Walters, John Tudor|
|Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton)||Walton, Joseph|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hon Sir John H.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wardle, George J.|
|Kerry, Earl of||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Wason, Rt. Hn. E. (Clackmannan|
|Kincaid-Smith, Captain||Price, Sir Robert J. (Nolfolk, E.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Rainy, A. Rolland||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Lamont, Norman||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Whitbread, Howard|
|Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis||Rees, J. D.||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Rendall, Athelstan||White, J. Dundas (Dumbart'nsh|
|Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Renton, Leslie||White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Richardson, A.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Ridsdale, E. A.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Whittaker, Rt Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Lowe, Sir Francis William||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Lupton, Arnold||Robinson, S.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n|
|Lynch, H. B.||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Rowlands, J.||Williamson, A.|
|MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Samuel, Rt. Hn. H. L. (Cleveland||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Maclean, Donald||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|M'Callum, John M.||Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|M'Crae, Sir George||Sears, J. E.||Wodehouse, Lord|
|M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Seaverns, J. H.||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|M'Laren, Rt Hn Sir C. B. (Leices.)||Seely, Colonel||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Shaw, Sir Charles Edw. (Stafford||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|M'Micking, Major G.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Master of Elibank.|
|Mallet, Charles E.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Hills, J. W.||O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Hodge, John||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Ashley, W. W.||Hogan, Michael||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||O'Dowd, John|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Hudson, Walter||O'Grady, J.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (City Lond.||Hunt, Rowland||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Jenkins, J.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Jowett, F. W.||O'Shee, James John|
|Boland, John||Joyce, Michael||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Joynson-Hicks, William||Percy, Earl|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Kavanagh, Walter M.||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Kekewich, Sir George||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Keswick, William||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kettle, Thomas Michael||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Kilbride, Denis||Reddy, M.|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Crean, Eugene||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Renwick, George|
|Cullinan, J.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Richards, T. F.(Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Delany, William||Lundon, W.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Dillon, John||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Macpherson, J. T.||Roche, John (Galway, East)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Doughty, Sir George||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||M'Arthur, Charles||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Duffy, William J.||M'Kean, John||Sheehy, David|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||M'Killop, W.||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Maddison, Frederick||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Markham, Arthur Basil||Summerbell, T.|
|Fell, Arthur||Meagher, Michael||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Meehan, Patrick A.(Queen's Co||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Thomas, David Alfred(Merthyr|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Mooney, J. J.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Gilhooly, James||Muldoon, John||Valentia, Viscount|
|Ginnell, L.||Murnaghan, George||Walker, Col. W. H.(Lancashire)|
|Glover, Thomas||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Nicholson, Wm. G.(Petersfield)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Nield, Herbert||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Gretton, John||Nolan, Joseph||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Guinness, Hon. R.(Haggerston)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Winterton, Earl|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Halpin, J.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Brien, William (Cork)|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||O'Connor, John (Kildare. N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Hutton and Mr. Clement Edwards.|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Oddy, John James|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Doherty, Philip|
Bill read a second time.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the Whole House for Monday next.—(Mr. Runciman.)824
§ Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER, in pursuance of the Order of the House of 31st July, adjourned the House without Question put.
§ Adjourned at twelve minutes before Twelve o'clock.