HC Deb 08 March 1912 vol 35 cc692-778

Order for Second Reading read.

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


In rising to move the Second Reading of this Bill, I wish at the outset to say that I am not bringing in this Bill at the desire or at the request or with the approbation of any body with which I may be connected, or with any group or members with whom I may be associated. A suggestion has been made in the public Press that I am bringing forward this Bill as the agent of a number of my fellow Nonconformists, and I want to state at the outset that no one else is responsible for the Bill, because I have received almost as much condemnation as I have approbation from those sitting on this side of the House. I have learned, in my endeavours to deal with a grievance which is recognised on all sides of the House, that most men are almost inflexible with regard to the opinions they hold. They seem to consider they are the only persons who are not to give way, and that everyone must give way except themselves. I have endeavoured, so far as I could gather the opinions of those who know the difficulties in connection with single school areas, and, on all hands, in connection with all groups and in connection with all denominations, there is a general consensus of opinion that there is a grievance, and a grievance which ought to be remedied. The right hon. Gentleman who was then Prime Minister stated that the Act of 1902 did not touch the single school area grievance. It left it still a grievance. It has continued from that day to this to be a grievance, and has not got less, but probably more. I know full well that suggestions have been made that where I make concessions in single school areas I am paving the way for concessions in connection with other schools. I want seriously to suggest that the single school area must be treated independently, without associating with it the difficulties of any other school or of any other area. It ought to be dealt with separately and independently. The difficulties of other areas, boroughs, and larger towns are not the difficulties of the villages and the rural parishes. My Bill relates solely to what are known as minor local authorities, boroughs in which there is a population of less than 10,000, urban districts of less than 20,000, and rural parishes.

I want very clearly and emphatically to say that in attempting to deal with any school which is the only school in the parish I will have no part and I will give no assistance or encouragement to any proposal that will banish the Bible from that school. I would, if I could, have the Bible in every school in the land, with whatever denomination it is connected. On the other hand, I recognise that in single school areas there are people who have opinions totally different from my own, and who would, in dealing with educational matters, confine themselves to secular education, and would not touch religious subjects at all. Some of my hon. Friends suggest that by dealing with this subject piecemeal I may be preventing any larger attempt being made to deal with other grievances in other districts. I am not concerned with other districts. Those grievances may adjust themselves in time to come, but the grievances of single school areas cannot. I do not want, therefore, in any proposal that is made, to take away the right to give in those schools the religious education of the denomination that established them or the religious education which accords with the beliefs of the parents whose children attend them. I want also, if I can, to remove the suspicion that in any attempt to take away the school, even by paying rent for it, and to place it under the county council or other authority, there might be the possibility of that school hereafter becoming solely a secular school, and those originally associated with it being grieved and troubled to think that religion was entirely abandoned. I have, therefore, included in my Bill a proposal that every school in a single school area which the local education authority recognises shall have religious exercises for the first three-quarters of an hour of the day. I know it will be said these religious exercises will appertain to denominational teaching and a particular kind of religion, but, so far as I am concerned, the religious education given in connection with the county council syllabus now, known as the Cowper-Temple scheme, does not advance my particular beliefs or the denomination with which I am connected. I know full well that in connection with this subject it is alleged that the religious education which is given under this Clause is teaching not characteristic of any religious principle, but if I may be allowed to take the case of the county in which I have the honour of a seat—the county of Cornwall—I would like to say that the religious education given in the schools there is based on a syllabus prepared by a committee, of which the Bishop of St. Germains was a prominent member, and unanimously approved by that committee. I have heard of no complaint whatever from the schools in Cornwall where this particular religious teaching has been adopted. The hymns are chosen from the "Ancient and Modern Collection" and from other standard books, and no one looking at them would have the slightest objection of them. The prayers that are set out are prayers that might have been taken from the Book of Common Prayer: they are prayers not associated with the denomination to which I happen to belong, because we happen to use, for the most part, prayers which are not set prayers; and that being so, the teaching given in the county council schools does satisfy the parents. It has not brought about any trouble, while, on the other hand, it cannot be said to be against the wishes of the parents.

It is true that in connection with this religious teaching in the schools there is a conscience clause, but it is not taken advantage of by the parents. They appear to be satisfied with that which is done, and no trouble whatever has arisen so far as the council schools are concerned. I happen to know in the county of Cornwall schools connected with denominations that ought to be closed simply because they are in an insanitary state and hotbeds of fever. But trouble has arisen; the locality could not back up the recommendations of some members of the committee with regard to a provided school, and therefore the school continues. That brings about an unhealthy state of children in the district, and for the sake of saving that which may mean rates they are breeding weakness, and are prepared to let the denominations take what care they like of the children, because some seem to think that that is a matter of gross indifference as long as their children can be kept away from the school during religious teaching if they so wish. Many of my hon. Friends on this side of the House do not agree with me when I endeavour to make compulsory some kind of religious teaching of the first three-quarters of an hour in the morning. There are those sitting on both sides of the House who disagree with the form of religious teaching; those on that side because they consider it has some kind of suggestion of creed, and those on this side because they consider there should be no teaching at all in connection with religious exercises. That being so, it is impossible for any one, no matter how well intentioned he may endeavour to be to please the enthusiasts or advocates on both sides.

I have had letters from some whom I would imagine to be my friends saying that I am giving away the council schools, and on the other hand I have had some from the other side suggesting that I am robbing the Church schools, so that between the two I am hoping to-day to get moderate men on both sides of this House to support this Bill. I am prepared personally to go even further than this Bill. I know the storm of abuse that will come down on my shoulders if I attempt to say on these benches how far I am prepared to go in order to settle this question. On the other hand, the cheers with which this statement was greeted by hon. Members opposite give me some encourage- ment in hoping that this afternoon this Bill will not be talked out and that there may be an opportunity of taking a Division on it, so as to get the opinion of moderate men on both sides of the House and show there is a desire, although it may not be in the exact form I have put it here, to promote a movement that would satisfy some, if not all, of us. If we can only get the moderate men to recognise the good intentions and bona fides of each other on both sides of this House, I believe that in the end no one will feel that injustice has been done either to the parents, or to the scholars, or to the denominations to which they respectively belong. And if that can be done, we would remove from the educational area a number of great troubles. One of the most remarkable things about our discussions on education is that we have never yet had any differences of opinion about the standard of education on secular subjects. This House has not concerned itself on this point. Some schools are highly inefficient. Some teachers are engaged simply because they happen to be teachers, and some, I fear, do not teach very much. But there has never been any serious discussion in this House on measures for remedying this state of things. The discussions that have taken place have centred entirely around religious points.

Here is a remarkable fact: While we have more than 5½ millions of children attending our day schools regularly, we have, attending our Sunday schools, 6½ millions; and while we have, as it were, 100 teachers teaching in secular subjects on week days we have 400 teachers teaching religious subjects on Sundays. I maintain that if we take the suggestion of this Bill and permit some form of religious instruction in the first three-quarters of an hour of the day, giving also the parents of the children who desire some more definite form of instruction in the same period, the right to send their own teachers in to teach what they believe, where on Sundays you have four teachers to one, you will have a greater number propagating the particular beliefs with which you are associated, and endeavouring to teach them apart from other subjects. You cannot teach religious beliefs under a time-table of the school. You cannot leach that which appertains to love by order of any local education authority; you can only teach it because the teacher himself or herself believes in it, and I am bold to say that those who believe in it and who speak on it from the highest standpoint are those who do it voluntarily on Sundays. I believe there is a greater amount of good done in the Sunday schools on Sunday than could be done by children having double the time given to the subject every morning in the week, but yet mixing it up with other subjects. Sunday schools deal with the highest subjects. Day schools deal with the ability and aptitude of children from business affairs, and that aptitude may be further developed on the Sundays. If that could be our position here, I believe that the churches of the land would do a better work than they do now. Those hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite who cheered the suggestion that those who teach religion should believe in it would not, I imagine, claim that all the teachers who are now compelled to teach it believe it because they have to teach it. I do not want to introduce into this Debate matters which may be in the form of high criticism with regard to the conduct either of ministers or teachers. I have sufficient evidence in front of me to show that there are many teachers who are obliged to teach who would welcome any change which would free them from that, and who would welcome being freed from the control of the young curate of the parish who has recently come in and knows nothing about it. They would prefer to be under the local education authority, who are sympathetic with what they have to teach. I do not want to bring that side of the question into this Debate. If I did I might introduce some bitterness from one side or the other. I want my Friends opposite to believe that. I am not making an advance from the point of view of denominationalism. I am endeavouring to make an advance towards curing a grievance which is most acutely felt in the smaller places of this country. Where there is one school and only one school I maintain that it is not right to compel all denominations to be brought into that school with one form of religious teaching given at the expense of the denominations other than the one whose teaching is being given. That being so, if any suggestion can be made from the other side which would enable us to go a little further along the road of common agreement we shall welcome it. I recognise your difficulty in the single school areas. I recognise that where there is one council school and all the children are obliged to attend that school, those of you who think devoutly and seriously that children ought every day to have some dogmatic teaching are under a disadvantage. I would be prepared, personally, in connection with areas where there is only one school, to recognise your grievance, provided you recognised mine. In making that suggestion I do not want to gather from this side all those enthusiasts who desire to run rapidly in this education race; but, if I can, to gather up the moderate men who are on both sides of the House, in order that we may march to one step towards that which I believe will be for the betterment of the children and the increased efficiency of education. It can be done provided there is a recognition of honesty of purpose in your minds, just as I endeavour to put from my side the honesty of purpose I hope I have in my own mind.

This Bill deals with the suggestion that a school which is now held by one denomination, and which is the only school in the area, may be continued as a school, if the local authority are so eager and zealous to bring about dogmatic teaching. We do not say, "Shut up your school or transfer it." If you want to keep it on you must keep it on at the expense of those who believe in that teaching. It then becomes a certified efficient school, and you are not robbed of your school. On the other hand, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you are not compelling payment by any other persons than those who believe in that which you are doing. If, however, you feel that teaching two mornings in the week would suffice for that, which might be dogmatic, teaching the parents of the children may desire and approve of, any religious teacher or any person outside that school can come in upon those two mornings and give that, religious teaching. On Saturday and Sunday the school would be entirely your own, cleaned, heated, and left in the condition that it would be in had you to carry the whole of the expense. A rent is to be paid by arrangement with the local education authority, dependent upon the number of scholars in the school. If it is transferred absolutely, and you wish to have nothing further to do with the school, its upkeep, or its maintenance—I imagine there are plenty of local authorities who would be very glad to get rid of the liability attaching to some of their schoolhouses—if we take it over, a sum of 3s. for every scholar will be paid. If there are 100 scholars in attendance that would be a rental of £15 per annum in perpetuity, or if purchased outright a sum of £300 would be paid for the buildings with no further obligation on you. Even when so transferred you would have the right of going in two mornings in the week to give the religious instruction desired by the parents of any particular scholars. Further, you would know that that school could never become a school in which there was no Bible teaching given. The transfer of a school can be made by three systems. First, there may be the transfer which is in the form of a transfer outright, but in association with it the provision that it must always be a school in which there must be religious teaching, and into which you will have the right of entry on two mornings in the week. Secondly, if the school is not transferred outright, it may be transferred conditionally, giving you Saturday and Sunday, still with a right of entry and still with a rental. Thirdly, if it is transferred solely for the purposes of education, leaving you two nights in the week, and Saturday and Sunday, there will be paid to you a similar sum, but you yourselves would be responsible for the fabric. These systems of payment have been taken from a proposal which has already been discussed in this House. They were discussed very fully in 1908. That being so, I claim that all that will be discussed to-day is old matter. I am hoping that my Friends opposite will endeavour to walk with me in my desire to find some solution for a grievance that they have recognised, that they frankly admit, but which they say cannot be properly met by the specific suggestions I am now making. The Bill is framed in such a way as to permit, if it were thought proper, of additions being grafted on to it which would deal with the trouble I have said I would recognise, and if any suggestion, therefore, can be made from the other side to show your desire to recognise the difficulties under which Nonconformists are in the places where there is only one school, it will go a long way towards removing the suspicion that is associated in some people's minds that if a person happens to be a Nonconformist he must be for ever under a disability in connection with educational matters. [HON. MEMBERS "NO, no."] I am perfectly sure hon. Members must have forgotten the fact that in over 5,000 schools in single areas the head teacher must belong to one denomination only.

In my county only recently when a vacancy arose in a school a certificated teacher who had been serving in the school was passed over, and the only reason given was, not that he was inefficient, but that they preferred to have a member of the Church of England. That was the only school in the district. Hon. Members must have forgotten that there are instances like that not only in one county or in one district, but in many. I do not bring up the sheaf of letters that I have from teachers in Church schools now who say they want to be freed, who give me permission to mention the acts that they complain of provided I do not mention their names. I thought we all recognised on both sides of the House that there was a grievance, and that there was an unfairness, and I want now to place all on an equality, to give no specific advantage to one which you would not give to the other. Do not make a person's religion a bar to his or her advancement in the scholastic profession. It is a bar now. It may not be known to some of our friends who are associated with towns and with larger districts how acute this trouble is. I represent a straggling constituency of small parishes, and while I have great friends in connection, with some of the Churches, I have others who would look askance at any proposal that I make, and would imagine that I had some extraordinary design of stealing from them if I were to do anything to take away their rights in connection with the schools which they built with the aid of other people's money. There are many schools so built, but we want to banish that away if we can.

I desire to ask the friends of the children on the other side whether it is possible, when we have in our schools in this country over four millions of children under twelve years of age and we have only 1,000,000 children over twelve years of age, and we have less than 10,000 in the whole of our schools in our land over fifteen years of age, that they really think that any great benefit accrues to any denomination by attempting to teach denominational creeds to children under twelve years of age. While it may be so in some places, I maintain that these creeds would be better taught and the truths would be more recognised when sitting round the teacher on Sunday than they would be when associated with the rough and tumble of everyday school life. Sunday schools do the work, and they are doing it well, and I do not want it to be spo[...]lt by compulsory teaching in the day schools by those who cheerfully teach it but who feel that they are teaching subjects that they think would be better taught in other places than at school. The time was, centuries back, when some connected with the Established Church would have thought that by not going to Church on Sunday I was doing some act for which I ought to be haled before the magistrate on the Monday. Those days have gone, and the Church of England today is far stronger in the affections of her teachers and also in the goodwill of the people generally by not having those compulsory powers, and by having the voluntary worship of those who go there rather than compulsory attendance by law. That being so, I fully believe that if you have your religious teaching voluntarily given on Sunday, with the right also to teach it on two mornings of the week to those who specifically want it, you are not going to hurt the children, you are not going to bring up young hypocrites, but to build up people who will believe in you, and, I believe, the denomination itself will suffer nothing from this disability that I now propose to put upon them.

The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. J. A. Pease) will probably say I am attempting to step in and deal with a great question which only a Government can deal with. They have tried it four times. I am only advancing that as an argument to show the extent of this question, and the difficulty of arriving at a solution which will satisfy everybody. You can only arrive at a solution by some giving up points of great value to themselves. It is not a sacrifice if you give up something that is immaterial. You are asked to give up something which is of very great material advantage to you when you are asked to give up the right of appointment of teachers. But while that is so, I am suggesting here in connection with the teachers themselves that every school that is transferred shall also transfer the teachers, who shall suffer no disability. If their engagement requires that they shall play the organ on Sunday they can do it. If their engagement requires that they shall teach on Sunday they can do it, but if their engagement requires that they shall teach religious subjects on a week day they shall not do it, but they shall have no reduction in salary by reason of its being taken from them. I am sure it would be a charge against me if I attempted to take away from teachers a duty that they now have to perform and also took away from them some specific portion of their salary. I am asking these teachers to give teaching in connection with Bible lessons. I am asking them to read prayers which have been arranged and approved by the Bishop of St. Germains, or other place where they have had the Code so prepared. In doing that it cannot surely be alleged that I am asking them to do something which is foreign to their beliefs or to what would be the good of the children, seeing that it has been thus highly approved. I therefore wish once more to make an appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite, who feel very strongly about this question, who admit the grievance, and who know the difficulties. I will ask them to allow this Bill to be a kind of register of their convictions, that they want to do something towards remedying it, even if they do not approve of the specific methods that I am proposing. Let the people of England see that while we are divided on some things we are not divided upon the care of the children in single school areas, and if that is done I believe we shall gain a great step towards solving the educational difficulty that has so long baffled us. I believe hereafter the other places will right themselves. I believe where there is a choice of schools and the parents elect to send their children to one school or the other there will be no trouble. The grievance that has resulted is due to these children being compelled to attend one school and to receive the religious instruction given in connection with one definite creed, and to the parents who disagree with that being compelled to pay for that specific instruction. Therefore I beg to move the Second Beading of the Bill.


I desire to second the Motion for the Second Reading; of the Bill.

May I be allowed to say how sincerely I personally regret the absence of the hon. Member for North-West Norfolk (Sir George White) through a serious and critical illness, for he, from his long association with this question, would have been the right person to second the Motion. I cannot help hoping that this Bill will not be received with anything like implacable hostility by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. It is quite true that it does not profess to be a settlement of our educational differences. It is a very moderate Bill, and deals with a very limited area of the question, and yet at the same time it does something to mitigate the harshest features of the system due to the Act of 1902. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Second Reading said, with very great justice, that, so far as this particular grievance is concerned, it has been admitted by all sides. In the first place, the right hon. Gentleman who was the author of the Act of 1902, in his place in Parliament recognised that the single school area grievance was a very real one, so far as Nonconformists are concerned. The hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) actually moved an Amendment in that sense in the House and endeavoured to get concessions from the 1902 Administration in favour of the single school area schools. As to the conference held in regard to the Bill introduced by the right hon. Gentleman who is now Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Runciman), I can personally testify that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other Bishops who attended that conference were perfectly willing to admit that on this point Nonconformists had a very definite grievance which ought to be met. The conference broke down simply because it was impossible at that time for all parties concerned in a settlement to arrange between them some terms on which, as they believed, justice would be done to all schools of thought.

My hon. Friend with great courage and audacity, has now brought forward this Bill which, at any rate, makes certain practical proposals worthy of discussion in all parts of the House. Let me put a case to hon. Gentlemen opposite and ask them if the facts were reversed, whether they would not admit the grievance we complain of to-day. If in 6,000 or 7,000 school areas in this country there was only one school, and that a Nonconformist school, if their children were compelled to attend that school, if the managing committee of the school by Statute had a majority of Nonconformists on it, if all the teachers of that school were Nonconformists, if everything which was done in that school produced a Nonconformist atmosphere, if there was drilled into the children time by time certain theories which their parents felt were subversive of the fundamental religious position they occupy—I put it to them, if their children were compelled to go to that school, would they not feel that they had a grievance so far as the State was concerned? If the further injury was done to them of having these schools put on the rates and taxes of the community by law, and having to pay for the perpetuation of that system—if they were compelled to pay their money for an active Nonconformist propagandism, would they not feel the grievance? I venture to say that the fight we have made on this matter would be nothing to the fight which would be initiated by the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University (Lord Hugh Cecil) if there was any such state of things existing in this country as that.

We claim that in asking the country to do us something like justice on this point we are not asking something extreme or out of the way. We are simply asking to be regarded as members of a great community, and to have equal rights with all the members of that community—fair and square treatment in the schools for which we pay. Let me put this point to hon. Members. I know perfectly well that there will be fundamental criticism of this Bill, but, at any rate, it is right to attempt to emphasise the maximum of religious agreement, and to minimise, wherever possible, religious differences. It is an attempt, at any rate, to come together in the common school on common ground so far as simple religious teaching is concerned. I know perfectly well that certain hon. Members opposite may tell me that this is not possible, that it is an ideal which can never be realised in this country, that we are too sharply divided in matters of religion, and that it is not possible to find anything like a common denominator so far as religion is concerned. That might conceivably be true, but there are Members in this House and multitudes of people outside who have not yet lost belief in the possibility. Let me remind them that this ideal did not come from men of extreme views in the first instance. The idea of finding something like common ground in religious teaching was an idea formed by good men of all schools of political opinion in this country. Among them were men like the Conservative Leader of that time (Mr. W. H. Smith) and the Earl of Shaftesbury, whose name is honoured everywhere. It was not a cunning and clever strategic movement on the part of Nonconformists to outflank and overthrow the body of Churchmen in this country; it was a perfectly honest proposal that we should endeavour to find some common ground on which our children might not be divided, but brought together in the public schools.

My hon. Friend puts into the Bill the suggestion that the ordinary teaching in. single school areas where no second school is available should be that which was agreed upon not so very long ago by men of good feeling and goodwill among all parties. I do not honestly think he can be said to be suggesting something very extreme, or something that is going to do any permanent injury to the people of the Church of England, who may perhaps take a very strong denominational line. I am one of those Nonconformists who have fought year after year for the maintenance, if possible, of a Bible lesson as an integral part of the curriculum of the public school in this country. I agree that it may not be possible to maintain that position, but I shall deeply deplore it if it is not. The secularists of this country have never raised any strong objection to that. They feel that to exempt their children from that which has so large a part in the history of the world and in the history of our own literature, and which stands for so much in the life and literature of the English people, would be a misfortune, and they are as willing as we are that their children should know the contents of the Scriptures of our faith. As long as it is possible to maintain that, I hope the House will maintain it and that the country will maintain it. But if the price we have got to pay for that is that in those districts where, after all, we are probably in a small minority and have most to stand against, the State is to step in by way of coercion for this unjust and unfair discrimination as regards our children, then I believe the great body of the Free Churchmen of this country will pass over to the purely secular side of the question, and will agree that the only possible solution is to exclude the Bible altogether from the schools.

I think that the differences which could be avoided are driving the majority of the industrial people in this country rapidly over to the secular system, and that this Bill is a great advance from the national point of view. It gives every substantial freedom to the teacher, and it is a good thing that the teacher should have that freedom, that he should not have to regard his religious views as possibly being of a certain financial values and that he should not be tempted by any sordid motives whatever to teach children views which he does not honestly hold himself. It makes for increased dignity of the teaching profession and its increased popularity that the teacher should be free from all temptations of that kind. The efficiency of the school depends on the teacher. We want to have the time when the teacher will be chosen from the widest possible area, and chosen according to his educational qualifications, and those alone. If that is to be so then in these single school districts the teachers will be appointed from a very much larger range of choice and consequently you will stand a very much better chance of getting the best possible teacher for the school. I believe that under this Bill there is a basis of agreement so far as that which is the most considerable grievance of the Nonconformists of this country is concerned. I do not believe that the Church of England is desirous of presenting herself to the nation in the light of a Church that will insist upon every jot and tittle of privilege and ascendancy in districts where she is capable of making at the present time a very great and very generous concession. It is because I believe that this Bill, if carried, would make for the removal of religious strife, and the increase of educational efficiency that I beg to second the Motion of my hon. Friend.


I beg to move as an Amendment, to leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, "this House, while approving of the principle that parents should decide the kind of religious instruction that their children are to receive, and believing that all public elementary schools should receive equal treatment from the Board of Education and the local education authorities, cannot proceed with a measure that fails to make equal provision for the requirements of all parents."

1.0 P.M.

The hon. Member who introduced this Bill told us that although this was the first, occasion during this Parliament on which we have had an opportunity of discussing what in the past has been a very long and bitter controversy, yet most of the matters contained in the Bill are old and we need not rediscuss them at any great length. I must differ with that contention. Much of the material is, I own, old. At the same time the question has not been discussed not only during the present but during the preceding Parliament. In addition, as everyone who follows the matter in any detail knows, many changes have taken place in the last three years which have changed materially the position of the controversy. I agree with the tone in which the hon. Member introduced the discussion. No one could find fault with the conciliatory style in which he described a number of generalities, with which I believe every Member of this House is in complete agreement. That is a significant feature of the present position of the controversy. I believe we are beginning to realise, with the isolated exception of Dr. Clifford, that this controversy cannot be settled by the complete victory of one party or the other. During the last four years particularly, many departments of the controversy which were the very cockpit of battle have now been brought into a state of peace. The ground between us is, at any rate, now strictly limited, but I do not think on that account that it is possible for one or other party easily to conquer or permanently to occupy it. I agree entirely with what the late President of the Board of Education (Mr. Runciman) said, shortly after his transit to another office, at Newcastle in January last. He counselled impatient Nonconformist friends not to think of the education question as one easy of settlement. He said that some of the obstacles of the past had gone, foremost being the Veto of the House of Lords, but that, having regard to the present composition of the House of Commons no extreme view on the education question could be rammed down its throat, that any such attempt would necessarily be followed by reaction, and that the dominant factor in any settlement must be religious equality. We are here this afternoon to discuss how that religious equality can be achieved, and whether the Bill of the hon. Member for Launceston is likely to be successful in achieving that object.

In this field—the single school areas—it seems to me that the three grievances, real or alleged, that have been excited by the 1902 Act are concentrated in a most acute form. The hon. Member has alluded to them. They are the grievance of the parent, of the teacher, and of the ratepayer. The hon. Member rightly sees that each of these grievances is focussed in a most definite manner on the question of the single school areas. Take, first, the grievance of the ratepayer. We are quite aware that there are Nonconformist ratepayers who do, by a process of mental activity which we cannot understand, object to paying rates towards the maintenance of what they regard as denominational instruction. We are prepared to acknowledge that grievance, at the same time thinking that it has been somewhat exaggerated. There is the quite significant fact, as far as I can discover from a study of the reports of the National League of Passive Resistance, presided over, I believe, by Dr. Clifford, that there has not been a single case, or there have been only a few cases of passive resistance in single school areas. I am not going to press that point, because we are prepared to acknowledge the grievance. Secondly, we are also prepared to see that the teacher has a grievance as well. Thirdly, we acknowledge that the Nonconformist parents also have a grievance. There, again, we cannot help thinking that sometimes, particularly upon the political platform, the grievance has been exaggerated. If, for instance, you take the test of withdrawals under the Conscience Clause of the Act of 1870, you will find that the number of withdrawals in single school areas from religious instruction is very small and insignificant. But there, again, I am not anxious to press the case, because we acknowledge that grievance as well. But how does the hon. Member for Launceston (Sir Croydon Marks) propose to deal with this grievance in the actual Bill which he has to-day introduced? It seems to me that he is desirous of achieving peace. But this Bill will make not peace, but a desert. As far as I can discover from the latest available Return of the Board of Education, there are in this country and Wales 18,958 public elementary schools. Of this number 8,006 are council schools and 10,952 are non-provided schools. Let me analyse those figures a little bit further.

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. J. A. Pease)

May I interrupt the hon. Member? The latest figures given do not include the non-provided schools, but only the Church of England schools.


I am prepared to take the figures. It does not affect my argument and makes the case even stronger, I think. Of these 19,000 schools, speaking roughly, 7,602 are in districts technically termed single school areas, where there is only one school available. Of this number 5,528 are Church of England schools, twenty-six are Roman Catholic, eleven Wesleyan, and 141 non-provided schools of other kinds. Then are 7,602 areas, technically termed single school areas, which would be covered by the provisions of the Bill. The Church of England has nearly 11,000 schools. More than half of these schools are in single school areas. The Bill, therefore, affects materially more than half the schools that were built, and whose buildings have since been maintained by members of the Church of England. It is therefore by no means a small measure: it covers a very wide field of this great and persistent controversy. The hon. Member told us that in those areas affecting more than half the schools of the Church of England no non-provided school should in future be supported by the rates or by the taxes. The hon. Member said he was imposing no compulsion upon the managers of our schools. That may be technically right. But if you tell the school that it must either come in or that, if it does not come in, it shall have neither support from the rates nor from the taxes, the result must be one of two things—either the school will come under control, or it will have to eke out a precarious existence outside the national system of schools on those voluntary subscriptions which it may be able to scrape together. That would be a very unfortunate result. The hon. Gentleman, in the conciliatory speech in which he introduced the Bill, said time after time that he was fully aware that just as the denominations for which he speaks have a grievance in our single school areas, so we, the Churchmen, have a grievance in the districts where there is only a provided school. I was very glad to hear him make that statement. He will pardon me if I express the wish that he had gone a little bit further and put that in his Bill.


I wonder if I would have received the support of the hon. Gentleman to-day.


The hon. Member would certainly have taken me a considerable way in support of the Bill he has introduced. More than that I cannot say. At the end of my speech, he will be in a better position to judge whether that would have been so or not. I hazard the conjecture that there are only 1,896 single council school areas as against 5,000 single Church school areas, and the number of children in each of those two groups of schools is, if not approximate, at any rate gradually approximating to the other. I think there is not a very great difference between them.


There are 222,000 in attendance at the 1,896 schools, and 416,000 in attendance at the Church schools.


I also have some figures which I am afraid are not quite what the hon. Member has stated. At any rate, I am prepared to take the figures he has given, They show, at all events, that there are over 200,000 attending the schools in the single council school areas, and over 400,000 attending in the single Church school areas. If you introduce a Bill to remove the one grievance you must at the same time most explicitly insert a clause extending the facilities given to the other schools. If this Bill passed this House, the grievance, so far from being diminished, would be increased. You would remove the grievance of the Nonconformist children, but you would only remove it by shifting it on to the shoulders of the 200,000 Church children. I think this House could not assent for one moment to a proposal of that kind. Let me put what I have said in the form of a quotation from the last report of the Diocesan Inspector of Schools in one of the West Riding districts of Yorkshire, the Diocese of Wakefield:— Perhaps a word may here be said on the question whether in our diocese there is adequate choice of schools for the children of Church of England parents and also for the children of others. In regard to the great majority of the children attending the Church schools of the diocese, it is fair to say that parents not of our communion have within a reasonable distance a school where the religious instruction is given under the Cowper-Temple Clause. In other words, for perhaps one-fourth of the children in our schools there is no alternative. For quite a considerable proportion of these children, however, managers have taken special steps to point out to parents the rights they already possess under the Act of 1870. But they have gone beyond this. They have made special arrangements for the instruction of such children, in some cases providing Nonconformist teachers for Nonconformist children. It has been possible to do this without invidious distinctions, and while the disadvantages in regard to school organisation have been comparatively small, the general effect is undoubtedly beneficial. For our own people the case is very different; there are considerable areas where, for them, there is no adequate choice of schools. North and East Halifax there is an area including some half-dozen parishes where there is no school connected with our Church. Taking a direct line from Wakefield to Tong, a distance of ten miles, there are only two Church schools for older children. In the borough of Morley, which is included in the area just named, there is no provision for older children except that made by council schools. It thus happens that while in Church schools, provided by Churchmen for Church teaching, provision may be, and sometimes is, made to meet the needs of Nonconformist parents, in council schools, schools provided by the funds of the whole community, Churchmen included, alternative teaching such as is desired cannot be obtained. That, I think, exactly describes the position of Church of England children in an increasing number of districts, both urban and rural. Let me further remind the hon. Member that in the year 1908 certain proposals were made by the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor in office with a view to obtaining a settlement. First of all, the right hon. Gentleman offered the Church of England a considerable financial Grant for those schools which desired to contract out of the national system. The hon. Member opposite offers no such Grant at all. Secondly, the right hon. Gentleman offered a sum to those schools which were willing to be transferred. The hon. Member opposite offers 3s. per head for absolute transfer, and I think I am right in saying that that is a smaller amount.


The same amount.


I thought it was 4s., but according to the hon. Member the right hon. Gentleman and himself offer the same amount. Is the hon. Member aware what that offer comes to? I am informed by those who know that the provision of a place for a child in a non-provided school works out on the average at £10 per child. The hon. Gentleman offers for absolute transfer 3s. per head at twenty years' purchase, or, in other words, £3. That seems to me to be an excellent bargain for the hon. Member, to get a place that has cost £10 for £3. I venture to think that that is a bargain to which we could not possibly agree. Thirdly, the right hon. Gentleman offered to allow the assistant teachers in the transferred schools, in all schools, to give religious instruction where they desire to do so, and where it is desired that they should give it. The hon. Member, so far from making that offer, forbids the assistant teacher to give it under any circumstances, to say nothing of the head teacher, who is also forbidden. Fourthly, the President of the Board of Education offered us in return for the transfer of our schools the right of entry into all schools. The hon. Gentleman opposite offers us the right of entry into those schools we transfer and into no others. In all those respects the proposals of the hon. Gentleman opposite are vastly behind the proposals that we did not accept and that we refused as inadequate in the year 1908. I venture to urge that during the three years that have since ensued there is no reason why we should in any respect accept less than the offer we refused three years ago.

So far my criticisms have been purely negative of the proposals that the hon. Member has placed before the House, but I should not like to think that he might consider that I was simply speaking as a wrecker of educational settlement, and that I had not proposals in my mind and conditions to which I had given my consideration, that I believe would be the foundations of a. permanent settlement. Let me sketch those conditions without which I do not believe for one moment that any permanent settlement is possible. First of all you must apply generally the principle that parents should have the right to decide what kind of religious instruction their children should receive. The hon. Member opposite has only partially applied that principle. I think if he will study the history of the large number of educational Acts now placed upon the Statute Book, he will find without exception that every one of those Acts has failed in some degree, because it has not universally and impartially applied that principle. Take for instance the Act of 1870; there you had the right of the parent admitted in the Conscience Clause. Take again the Act of 1902; there you had it admitted in the provision for building alternative schools in certain districts. Take again the Bills introduced by right hon. Gentlemen opposite. In each of them, I think without exception, some admission has been made of this parental right, but each of those has failed, either more or less, because it has not universally applied that principle.

We believe that this controversy can be settled, and can only be settled upon admitting this parental right. It might be thought that that is only my own individual opinion, and let me therefore reinforce it by two quotations from the two Archbishops, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York. Both of those distinguished leaders of the Church, not only acknowledge this principle, but are actively advocating it, and they say that if you are to carry it into practical effect it must lead, first of all to the right of entry all round. We are quite prepared to acknowledge that. At the annual meeting for the Canterbury Diocesan Education Society on 15th January, when the Archbishop of Canterbury presided, a report was submitted by the committee on alternative forms of religious instruction, recommending that in single school areas where parents of a reasonable number of children asked for separate religious instruction, provision should be made for giving such instruction in one of the following ways. The committee then proceeded to enumerate the ways, giving right of entry to representatives of denominations in one case, and in other cases where desired, allowing the teachers in particular schools to give the instruction, and also encouraging non-provided schools to appoint as assistant teachers members of the particular denomination demanding the right of entry and the opportunity of denominational instruction in accordance with its opinions. The Archbishop of York has made an even more definite pronouncement. Writing in the "York Diocesan Gazette" of February of this year, he used these words:— I am asked by the Diocesan Education Association to cull the attention of managers of our Church schools to the question of offering facilities to Nonconformist parents in single school areas for the instruction of their children, if they so desire, in accordance with their own special religions tenets.…. It is a matter of real importance that we should show our willingness to remedy, so far as we can, any grievance which Nonconformist parents may feel in these single school areas. We are continually claiming that we stand upon the principle of parental choice in regard to the religious instruction of their children, and if any considerable number of Nonconformist parents in single school areas really desire special instruction for their children, we ought to do all we can to meet their wishes. Those two pronouncements express in a direct and unquestionable manner our readiness to give the right of entry all round. We acknowledge that it is irrevocably bound up with the admission of parental right, and therefore in single school areas, whether they be council areas or non-provided areas, free and ample facilities must be given in every case without exception. I think we should go even further and be prepared to give the right of entry in a number of plural school areas as well. That brings me to the second condition that I believe is absolutely essential for a permanent settlement of the question in which the single school area controversy occupies so prominent a place. I believe that if you once acknowledge parental rights in the matter of facilities, you must also acknowledge parental rights in the matter of providing alternative types of schools where there is a strong and reasonable demand for such types. I personally attach enormous importance to such a condition. In the first place I believe it is necessary for educational efficiency, and that it will be disastrous for education if there is only one type of public elementary school in the whole of the country. More than that, I believe it is of immense importance to attach a child definitely to some spiritual organisation. It will be found, if the available returns and statistics are searched, that the critical age for a child is between the years when he leaves school and, say, twenty or twenty-one. I believe, myself, that if you can once associate in the child's mind, in the most impressionable years of life, a definite connection with a spiritual body that connection will stand him in good stead in the critical years between thirteen and twenty. I therefore consider it of immense importance that you should keep, at any rate, a certain number of these atmosphere schools in which there is a definite connection between the child and a religious organisation.

Thirdly, I believe that if you would settle permanently this controversy you must go back a step farther and realise that this question of single school areas is inextricably bound up with the question of training colleges and secondary schools. I will tell the House why. I am certain that if the religious instruction demanded by the great majority of the parents is to be adequate and efficient you must have stringent precautions to ensure that every young man or young woman who wishes to become a teacher shall have ample opportunity of being given religious instruction while in a training college or secondary school. That is particularly important at the present moment. Owing to the policy adopted, I believe rightly, by the Board of Education, practically the only way into the teaching profession now is to pass through a secondary school and a training college. I am very much afraid that the result of the policy also adopted by the Board of Education has been to weaken the opportunities for religious instruction in both one and the other. Take, for instance, the training colleges. You have at the present moment 7,231 students in undenominational colleges and 4,772 in denominational colleges. It must cause us considerable apprehension to realise that in no less than one-half of the undenominational colleges there is no religious instruction of any kind given. Remember what that means. It means that you are making these young men and women pass through this particular course of training, and in after life they are to give religious instruction of one kind or another in a public elementary school, but yet in a large number of these colleges they are given no religious instruction whatever. If any permanent settlement is to be achieved in this controversy, and particularly in the single school area controversy, the Board of Education must adopt a liberal policy, under which free and ample facilities will be given both in the training colleges and in the secondary schools for adequate religious instruction to the young men and women who are to be the teachers in public elementary schools.

My last condition is that you must have adequate safeguards against unfair administration on the part either of the central authority or of the local county council. Many examples were given yesterday of the dangers to which we are now liable. I need not repeat them. It is enough for me to point to one which is contained amongst the provisions of the hon. Member's Bill. If the hon. Member will turn to Clause 6, Sub-section (6), he will find these words:— In this Act the expression 'single school area' means an area within the area of a minor local authority in which on 1st January, 1912— these are the important words— there was no public school accommodation within the meaning of the Elementary Education Acts 1870 to 1907, in schools provided by the local education authority available for all scholars residing in the area and desiring to attend, and suitable, having regard to their age and sex. From the remarks of the hon. Member I gathered that the test of a single school area was to be that there was only one school of a particular kind in the district. If he will study this Clause I think he will find that another test is intentionally or unintentionally suggested. It here expressly says nothing about there being only one school in the district, but that the important thing is whether there are places available for every child in any district in a provided school. Take a concrete case. Suppose a district in which there are three schools, two of them council schools, and one of them a Church school. It might well be that those two council schools are filled up. You might have a demand from one or two parents for accommodation which could not be provided. Under this Clause that district would immediately be classed under the provision of this Bill and the Church school would come under it, because it would be a district in which there was no provision in the provided schools for every parent who desired. Think of the danger of that provision? Suppose you had an unsympathetic Board of Education, or an unsympathetic county council. It would be perfectly easy for them by a change of requirements, for instance with regard to the cubic space for the children in the council schools to fill up the council schools at once, and ipso facto bring the Church school under the provision, and compel it to become a council school. I quote that case to show the danger that will inevitably result in the administration of a Bill of this kind unless you have adequate safeguards both in bringing the matters that it contains under the survey of Parliament, and also in right of appeal to a Court of Justice. Neither of these, I see, contained in this particular measure.

Lastly, I believe that this particular Bill is altogether founded upon a wrong principle. You take some convenient abstraction like the State, and you say, "Oh, the State must not do this or that; the State must not provide public funds for sectarian teaching." I believe that is altogether a fallacious principle. I believe that the only right principle in a case of this kind is to acknowledge at once that the State is the whole community of men and women residing in it. You cannot divorce it from the people who compose it, nor can you isolate public funds from the men and women, the taxpayers, and the ratepayers, who provide them. Thirty years ago this principle was well and directly expressed by the late Cardinal Manning:— If the Government may tax the whole people for education, the whole people have a right to share in the beneficial use of such taxation. An education rate raised from the whole people ought to be returned to the whole people in a form or in forms of education of which all may partake. If anyone forms of education can be found in which all the people are content to share, let it be adopted. If no one such form be possible, let there be as many varieties of form as can with reason be admitted. No one form of religious education would satisfy Catholics. Anglicans, Nonconformists and unbelievers. No form whatsoever of merely secular instruction will satisfy the great majority, who believe that education without religion is impossible. Therefore, if no one form can be found to satisfy all, many and various forms of education ought to be equally admitted, and equally allowed to stand on the same ground before the law. It is because the Bill fulfils not one single one of those conditions that I venture to move my Amendment. I am certain myself that no permanent settlement can for one moment be founded upon it. I feel further that if this House wastes time this afternoon in talking of peace, and in veiling the differences that unfortunately we all know exist, it will be really spending a most profitless time. I believe it would be doing what Falkland did on the eve of the Battle of Newbury when he went round ingeminating peace upon the verge of twenty years' bitter struggle.


I beg to second the Amendment. Although I put down a Motion for the rejection of this Bill, and although if this Bill is seriously pressed, I shall be compelled to resist it, yet I must say that it does, at any rate in two respects, mark a very great advance on former efforts from the same quarter. Let me also pay a tribute of appreciation to the extremely moderate tone in which the hon. Member introduced it. In the first place, there is a Clause which does definitely indicate that religion shall form a part of the daily teaching of school life. That is a new principle. Hon. Gentlemen who remember 1906 know that that was the first of the great Amendments which the House of Lords put into the Bill of the now Chief Secretary for Ireland. Now when it is accepted by hon. Members I think it does mark a very great advance; certainly, a very great advance on what I have always read and understood to be the Nonconformist position of fifty or sixty years ago, in which any compulsory principle of that kind applied to State education would, if I am not mistaken, have been entirely reprobated.

Attention drawn to the fact that forty Members were not present. House counted, and forty Members being found present—

Mr. JAMES HOPE (continuing)

I said before the interruption that the first feature which this Bill marks in advance is the Clause which provides there shall be religious teaching in the schools affected during the first three-quarters of an hour of the day. There is a second advance, I think for the first time, for it is clearly recognised in the measure that the circumstances of urban and rural education is entirely different. Very often this led to great difficulty in the discussion of this subject and the bringing forward of arguments applicable to one class of education and inapplicable to the other. It seems to me that the problem in the urban districts—I use the word in the broader sense—is to give the choice of schools to the children in their districts. In the rural districts the problem is to give the choice of teaching within the walls of the same building, where, for physical reasons, it is often impossible to have more than one school. I think that is a problem that ought to be met, although I am afraid it cannot be met by the provisions of this Bill. I am afraid, in the first place, this Bill is a misnomer. It is called "single school areas," but when, we turn to the Definition Clause to see what a single school area is the result is a great many more schools are affected than would appear at first sight. Let me read Clause 6(6):— In this Act the expression 'single school area' means an area within the area of a minor local authority. What do these words mean? What does an area within an area mean? I know from the speech of the hon. Gentleman who moved this Bill what his intention is, but I do not believe it is carried out by these words. The first area cannot mean the parish, because the area of the minor local authority, except in urban districts, is the parish, and obviously it does not mean the larger community within the larger area. I have done my best to understand this matter, and I have taken competent legal advice upon the point, and the result is that the word "area" must mean any district or region so long, I suppose, as it does not overlap the boundary of the authority. The effect of that, together with the rest of the Clause, would be this: that the Bill might extend to the whole country under the jurisdiction of county councils, not merely to six or seven thousand parishes, which are generally known as single school parishes. The result of that would be very startling. Let me take the schools belonging to my own body. On the usual acceptation of the words "single school area" there would be only some twenty-six of these grouped in, but under the interpretation given to me by a competent legal adviser as the only possible interpretation, there will be a vastly greater number. In the rural districts there would be 190, and in the smaller urban districts there would be fifty-three, and in the larger urban districts there would probably be sixty more, making a total of over 300, as against the twenty-six which might naturally be supposed to fall into this category.

The Definition Clause is, I think, rather faulty in other respects as well, because, by the use of the words "minor local authority," it would actually be the case that the London areas would be brought into this Bill, the minor local authority being the borough council of London. If you could prove that there was in any part of London a child who for the moment could not get a place in the London council schools, the result would be that the whole of the denominational schools in the Metropolis would become council schools. I know that is not the intention, but it only shows that this Definition Clause was drafted with very little consideration as to its effect. In that case no less than 190 would be added to the numbers I have already given. There is something very curious about this Definition Clause: it adopts the principle of a standard date—1st January, 1912. If this Bill were to become an Act it would not become law until a long time after that, and then you would have to ascertain what had been the beliefs and wishes of the children on the 1st January, 1912. It would be a problem analagous, but rather more difficult, than the problem of obtaining site values. If the Bill became law two years hence you would have to go back and find out what were the beliefs of the children and what were the desires of the parents on 1st January, 1912. You would, instead of having to ascertain site values backwards, have to ascertain conscience value backwards, and you would not be able to take into account what happened in the meantime. If, on the 1st January, 1912, there were not sufficient buildings, then, although they were provided since that, subsequent provision would have to be ignored. Take the effect, apart from that, in towns in which there are choice of schools, but where all those schools are non-provided schools, where say there is a British school which perfectly satisfies the wants of the Free Churchmen in that area. In a case like that if but one child be found to say that he wanted to get into a Cowper-Temple school the result would be that all these schools—the British school, the Church school, and the Catholic school—would all be affected by the act of one incipient Hampden or one dauntless village maiden. I do not want to insist upon that point, but it is a point that wants watching, because it was on an exactly similar point (Clause 4) that the 1906 Bill was damaged, if not wrecked. There you had the four-fifths provision, but if a single child could be found to claim admission the whole character of this was disturbed, and if we are to have schools, some denominational and some undenominational, there must be many more safeguards than is to be found in this Bill.

What I say about the whole question is, speaking from a different point of view from my hon. Friend who moved the rejection, there is a difficulty and a grievance which ought to be met. Speaking for myself, I would let the local education authority have power to ascertain in those single school areas, whether there is a demand for alternative teaching, and, if they find there is such a demand, let them meet it either by employing the existing teachers, if the parents wish it, or by sending in other teachers of their own. I believe, as a matter of fact, in practice there would not be the difficulty that is ordinarily expected. I believe where there was a majority of parents in a Church school area who desired alternative teaching they would be content that the existing teacher should give it. They might distrust the teacher, and in that case the county would have to make some further provision. There ought to be no difficulty about that, and, judging by what my hon. Friend has said and the views expressed by the leaders of his Church, I have little doubt that, although many managers might grumble and resist, that solution would be accepted if accompanied by converse facilities in the single school areas where at present there are only council schools. As this Bill stands, it really is not just on several grounds. In the first place, it does not meet the converse case, which is as real and living one as the case which the hon. Member opposite has presented. In the second place, it gives no security that the teaching on the two days prescribed shall be effective. A great deal depends upon that, because if there is no one responsible for discipline and for the order of the school during that three-quarters of an hour, the teaching is likely to be ineffective. It was admitted on the Government Bill of 1908 by Sir William Robson, the Attorney-General, that it should be part of the duties of the teachers to see that proper order and discipline were maintained by the special teachers during that three-quarters of an hour, but there is no such provision in this Bill.

2.0 P.M.

Another objection is that this measure ignores willing teachers who for years have taken a pride in giving instruction which the children were perfectly willing to receive, and which their parents were willing they should receive. All that would certainly be arbitrarily taken away from them. In many cases the Bill does not meet the hon. Member's purpose, because in parishes where the people are rich and zealous enough—and there will be a considerable number of them—to carry on the school, the grievance of the children and parents remains as before. In those cases they will have to go to the same school, and in the typical case of the rural squire who continues to carry on his school, the grievance will in no way be remedied at all. The suggestion I have thrown out would meet that case, because in all schools at present maintained there would be this special provision for special teaching. Another fundamental objection which I have is that this Bill substitutes the arbitrary system of religion set up by a county council for the dogmatic provision which the schools in question were started to teach for all those who might wish to be so taught. The hon. Member, in his speech, said that everyone transferring the school might be sure that religious teaching would be given under the plan he has proposed. But what sort of religious teaching? It might be pure Bible reading without any explanation. There is no provision whatever that any definite religion, taking a syllabus or anything of that kind, is provided at all, and it would remain entirely at the discretion of the county council to give anything that might be termed religious teaching during that three-quarters of an hour. I believe that in some counties it would be a very genuine religious teaching, although not one which I could accept myself; but in others it would be quite the reverse inasmuch as there is no safeguard that it would not perhaps be a mere mechanical formula to satisfy the conditions of the Act. An argument is sometimes used which I feel bound to repudiate in connection with this matter. It is sometimes said to me for example, "We quite admit that Cowper-Temple is not good enough for you and for the Postmaster-General, or those Scottish Members who have a traditional adherence to their shorter catechism, but it is good enough for the Church of England." I repudiate that doctrine, and to insist upon it is contrary to the fundamentals of religious liberty. It is not for any body of men to say what is good enough for another body of men on a question like religious teaching. No individual Member of this House has a right to take up that attitude. If a man says, "This is not good enough for me and my children," you must take his statement at its face value. I feel very strongly that to attempt to provide, as it were, a middle religion with dissenters at one end and the other, is doomed to failure. The only solution is admitting the religious differences and providing for them according to the wishes of the parents. Otherwise the result will be that you will have a privileged endowment of municipal religion. That is a thing grotesque in itself, because it has no basis behind it. It is illogical and it must fail, and for these reasons I feel bound to oppose this Bill, though I admit it marks a considerable advance, if it is pressed in anything like the form in which it at present appears.


I rise to take part in this Debate, chiefly to state, on behalf of the Irish party, that they propose to give a hearty support to this Bill. I should like at the outset to call to the mind of the House what has been the record of the Irish party on this particular question. We have always been, as hon. Members will recall, strong supporters of the denominational system in primary education, but in the debates which have taken place on successive education Bills, our record on this particular question of the Nonconformist grievance in single school areas is a perfectly clear one. I have here some extracts from speeches delivered by the present chairman of the Irish party on this particular question. Here is what my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Waterford (Mr. John Redmond) said. Speaking on 30th July, 1906, on the Third Reading of the Education Bill of that year, he said:— Let the limit in Clause 4 be altered so as to include, I will not say all our schools, but almost all our schools. I do not say all, because I want to make an exception of the single school areas, and, whatever the hardship might be of exempting the single school areas, in order that the grievance of Nonconformists is remedied we are prepared to deal with it. The point of that quotation is that at that period the hon. and learned Member for Waterford (Mr. Redmond) stated that, although he was aware the exemption of the single school areas from the privileges granted in Clause 4 of the Act of 1906 would hand over to the public authorities a certain number of the Catholic schools, we of the Irish party were quite prepared to make that sacrifice in order to meet the genuine grievance of the Nonconformists in England. Again, the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, on 10th May, 1906, said:— There is not a man sitting on the Irish Benches who does not admit that grievance and regret it— The question under discussion was the single school area grievance. and I need not say that any legislative proposal to lift that burden from the shoulders of the Nonconformists will have the unanimous support of the Irish party; but we ask you as well, in removing that grievance, as you are entitled to do, that you should not impose fresh grievances upon us. I could multiply quotations on the same lines from the chairman of the Irish party. Our record in this matter goes even further back, because these quotations belong to a period when the Liberal Government was in office, and when the Education Bill of 1906 was under consideration. Long before that, when the Conservative Government was in office, and when the great Education Bill of 1902 was introduced we, the members of the Irish party, in accordance with our well-known principle, but I must say with considerable pain to ourselves, felt constrained to support the Conservative party of that time, although it was a coercionist party and was working at that moment a very severe coercion policy in Ireland—and although we were opposed to the Government on that question—on this question of denominational education in the primary schools of England. I must frankly admit our position during the Debates of that time was a very embarrassing one, but we had to endure that. I want to show how consistent our attitude has been upon this question of single school areas and the admitted grievance of Nonconformists in connection with it. When that Bill was under discussion, we gave our support to the Conservative party and Government of the day, which they frequently acknowledged, and we had to oppose our own political Friends in this House on this particular question. In the course of that Debate there came a Clause dealing with this particular issue, and I, speaking on behalf of the Irish party, moved an Amendment more moderate than this Bill, moderate as this Bill is, to aim at making some effort to mitigate—I will not say to remove, because it did not remove, and I admitted at the time it did not remove fully—the grievance of the Nonconformists. It aimed at attempting to mitigate the Nonconformist grievance, and I made a strong appeal to the Leader of the House, the right hon. Gentleman for the City of London (Mr. Balfour), to take into consideration the support which the Irish party had given throughout the Debates to the Tory Government of that day, under circumstances extremely painful to themselves, and, if for no other consideration, for that reason to meet us in this particular Amendment dealing with the grievance of the Nonconformists of England.


The hon. Member's Amendment did not deal with this particular grievance at all.


It did deal with it. It did deal directly with this particular grievance. It was more moderate than this Bill, and I do not say it dealt fully with it.


It did not deal with it.


Oh, yes, it did. The leaders of the Nonconformists supported me, and said that it did in this House. During the Debate they accepted it as a considerable step towards the remedy of this grievance, and they joined me in the appeal I then made to the Government. What was the result?


What was the Amendment? Have you the words of if?


I have not the words with me, but the Amendment was that the parents of the children should have representatives on the committee in charge of the school, so that where the Nonconformists were in a majority they should control the school. That was the Amendment. I quite admit it did not remove the grievance and did not go as far as this Bill does, but it was a step—a most moderate step—towards removing the grievance. The First Lord of the Treasury, as he then was, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London, admitted frankly, just as he has since admitted, it was a grievance that ought to be remedied. I do not pretend my Amendment of 1902 removed the grievance, but I do say it was accepted by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Lloyd George) and the late Member for Wolverhampton (the late Sir Henry Fowler, afterwards Lord Wolverhampton), who was then one of the most trusted leaders of the Nonconformist party in this country, as a substantial step towards removing that grievance, and we made a strong appeal to the Leader of the Government to accept it. What was the answer? He admitted the existence of the grievance, but he absolutely refused to agree to the Amendment. I think many men who are champions of the Church schools have regretted that Amendment was not passed. It would have considerably mitigated the bitterness that has existed on this education question. I have alluded to that to make out my case that the attitude of the Irish party upon this question of single school areas has been a consistent attitude, no matter what Government has been in power. We have all along said we recognise this grievance, and that we will not be a party, so far as we are concerned, to the maintenance of this grievance in England against the Nonconformists. While we are prepared to champion against any Government the rights of our own schools, we will not make these rights an excuse or a pretext to endeavour to inflict a disability or an injury upon Nonconformists against which we would ourselves rebel. I must say the hon. Member who introduced this Bill set an example of conciliation. His speech was a model of conciliation, and his Bill is an extraordinarily conciliatory Bill. I have a cutting from this morning's "Times" in my pocket to prove that it is a Bill which has provoked great opposition from Members on his own side of the House and from his own party as being entirely too moderate. What has been the attitude of the leaders of the Church party? We really, so far as the; principle of denominational education goes, are at one with the English Church. We believe in denominational education far more strongly than they do, as I shall prove in a moment.


Hear, hear.


And we have proved it by the fact that we have not lost a single school, whereas you are handing over dozens of your schools for money consideration every year.


What do you mean by "we"?


You are the representatives of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and we are the representatives of the Catholics of England. Dozens of your schools are handed over to the public authorities because you will not bear the burden and we, the poorest in the community, have not handed over a single school.


"Catholics of England?"


The Roman Catholics of England believe in the Irish party, and support it. You can try what you can do with them.


Do you speak for the Roman Catholics of England.


I do.




I contend I speak for nine-tenths or nineteen-twentieths of them. We believe in the principle of denominational education more strongly even than those who belong to the Church of England. But we do not believe in that principle accompanied by persecutions such as those which have been described by the hon. Member. We want to see justice done both on the grounds of principle and of expediency. I warn hon. Members, as I did in 1902—and the events which have occurred since have more than justified my warning—that if you carry on the cause of denominational education in this country with disability and persecution against Nonconformists the cause of denominational education is doomed, and will, in the long run, come to an end. Therefore I say that in the interests of the principle of denominational education by which we stand we should be most eager to strip it of every connection with disability or persecution against Nonconformists. Churchmen have admitted these grievances for years. They never denied them in the Debates in 1902. But what did they do to remedy the grievance? They did nothing from 1902 to 1906 to produce a remedy. They made no effort. I, on behalf of the Irish party, proposed an Amendment which, at any rate, would have mitigated the grievance. But they would not accept it. They received it with a non possumus, and in 1906 the late Leader of the Opposition when challenged on this point said:— I have never denied the existence of the grievance. But he never made any endeavour to meet it. Are we, therefore, to be told once more that the maintenance of the principle of denominational education in England for those parents who desire it for their children is to be for ever tied up with disability and persecution of the great body of Nonconformists and Free Churchmen in this country. I say if you are taking up that attitude you are pronouncing the doom of denominationalism, and that is one of the reasons why I am so strongly in support of this Bill. The hon. Member for Sheffield just now made a most extraordinary speech. He spoke, I suppose, on behalf of his section of Catholics.


I spoke for myself. I do not take so much on myself as the hon. Member.


At any rate, the hon. Member spoke on behalf of himself. Perhaps he will pardon me for saying that he did not deal with the main grievance at all. He made a proposal to the following effect: He said that if Nonconformist parents of children in any single school area had complained of the nature of the religious instruction in the schools, they should be permitted to claim an alternative. I think he said he would be in favour of something which would offer them an opportunity of alternative instruction. I confess, on this particular point, that there is an immense number of mixed schools, Nonconformist and Church schools, in single school areas, and in many the majority, being Nonconformists, can never hope to have a Nonconformist head teacher. That is an intolerable grievance, and if ever such a system were attempted to be enforced in Ireland we would pull the roof off a school and we would not tolerate it for a single hour. If in Ireland you said that in a district where the majority of the population were Catholic the headmaster of the school should not be a Catholic it would produce a revolution. We cannot, of course, be asked to support a system like that. That is why we ask to do away with all grievances. We Members of the Irish party have never supported, and never will support, a system of that kind. I have always, since first I studied this question—and I have given very close study to it since 1906; I have been an attendant through every single Debate—I have come to the conclusion it would be absolutely impossible to devise any scheme for the settlement of the English education question which would remedy the difficulty. What you have to do is this. You have to make up your mind to endeavour to elaborate a scheme which will inflict the smallest amount of injustice on the parents. That is all you can hope to do. You cannot hope to have idealism. The hon. Member who introduced this Bill told us, and I was not surprised to hear it, that he had received protests from many men on his own side. Personally, I believe we could have passed the Bill of 1906 over the House of Lords had we so determined. The people of this country must realise the fact that it is by compromise, and compromise only, that this question can be settled. The hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Silvester Horne) said, perfectly truly, that there is a danger threatening and looming in the distance along this path, which will ultimately come about if this struggle is sufficiently prolonged, namely, that the masses of this country, sick to despair at the religious controversies which have torn this House for so long, will follow the example of France and other Continental countries and will say, there being no possibility of peace and efficiency in the schools, we will banish religion altogether from the schools. The Mover of the Bill and the hon. Member for Ipswich said that so long as they had influence, they would endeavour to keep the Bible in the schools. I believe that is the desire of the majority of the people in England to-day. I have always profoundly dissented from the view embodied in the Cowper-Temple Clause. I do not believe in the Cowper-Temple system, but I believe that the majority of the people in England are in favour of it, and we have got to recognise that. I say that the majority of the people in a country like England have some right to have their views carried out in the schools of their own country, and, although I am a strong opponent of the whole Cowper-Temple system, I should be very sorry to deprive the people of this country of the right to have the Bible in the schools and to have what they call simple Christian teaching, although I do not believe in it myself. I say, with all solemnity, to the champions of the Church in this country that it may take a long time, but if you persist in tying up the cause of denominational education in this country with injustice and oppression to those who do not belong to the Church of England, in my opinion you are signing the death-warrant, come it soon or come it late, of denominational teaching of all kinds in the schools of England.


I desire to associate myself with those who have ventured to congratulate the Mover of the Second Reading upon his conciliatory manner. May I also congratulate the Seconder upon his strong utterance, and also the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), who, with the courage and devotion which those of his own faith outside have always shown, has spoken, as I believe, from his heart to-day. I thank him for the acknowledgment he has given here of the undoubted grievance which this Bill is intended to remedy. I would, however, that the Bill in attempting to remedy an admitted grievance—admitted by Churchmen, Roman Catholics, and certainly voiced strongly by Nonconformists—had not gone so far as to incorporate other features which are entirely objectionable. Clause 1, Sub-section (1) is admirable without a doubt. It suggests that in every single school area, the school should be fully controlled by the local education authorities. To all intents and purposes Clause 1, Sub-section (1), will make every school in a single school area a council school. With that I am in entire accord. But when he gets to the other Clauses, which, as I understand, were intended to conciliate the Opposition but which have failed to do so, the Mover of the Second Reading has given us entanglements it will be difficult to ride over. Sub-section (2) of Clause 1 abrogates completely the fundamental principles on which the Cowper-Temple system was laid down in 1870. It makes statutory the provision of religious instruction by local authorities in respect of certain of our schools. That is a complete abrogation of the principle accepted in the compromise of 1870. That being the doctrine of this Bill, it will be impossible for those who support it to refuse the extension of that principle to every local authority throughout the country—indeed, if the Educational Bill promised for next year comes forward, I imagine that those who support this Bill will expect to find included in it a demand on the local authority to make provision for instruction in religious knowledge in the first part of every day.

We are told that this is overridden by the fact that we have a Conscience Clause. Attendance in elementary schools is secured by compulsion, and the Conscience Clause in operation is no remedy. If it were a remedy this Bill would not be presented to-day. It is because the Conscience Clause is no remedy that the grievance is so acute. You may take it that those who have had experience of teaching know full well that the late President of the Board of Education, now the Chief Secretary for Ireland, had true insight when he said that a child would rather be wicked than singular. That is entirely my experience. I know, from a long experience, that children in schools are loth even at the request of their parents to seek the protection which the Conscience Clause gives. They know full well that provision has to be made for oversight in their case, and that secular instruction has to be given at a time when it is extremely difficult in the ordinary working of the school to give it. I believe the children will rather fear the wrath of the parents—if wrath can be extended to a subject as religious as this is supposed to be—than seek the protection which it is supposed that this Conscience Clause gives to parents. The difficulties of this Bill do not end with Clause 1. Clause 2 suggests the compulsory thrusting out of certain schools from the national system. It allows for the contracting out of the national system by certain schools.




So far as I understand Clause 2, Sub-section (3), it does. The words are these:—

The owners of any existing school who do not desire to transfer such school to the local education authority, may continue the use of the school-house for the purposes of a certified efficient school.


That is not contracting out.


I call it compulsorily thrusting out. It may not be contracting out, but in fact it is a contracting out of a worse kind than is normally understood.


That I call giving absolute liberty of teaching. I am a strong supporter of that under any national system. Any individual should have a right to set up a school of his own, provided he pays for it. That is liberty of teaching.


This certainly allows the owners of a non-provided school to withdraw it if they so desire from the national system.


And pay for it.


And pay for it, but there is no suggestion here that you shall withdraw from such a school the ordinary Grant of the Board of Education.


Oh, yes.


They have to satisfy the Board of Education that they will be able to maintain it. By what right does the Board of Education come in unless it is to provide the same Grant? Let us assume they get no Grant from the Board of Education. The case from the point of view of the children is worse, and the last thing we have heard in this House is any suggestion of the rights of the children. The rights of the parents, if you will, and the rights of the managers—the sacred rights of the parents, which are kept alive by propaganda in which I have little confidence. The effect on the children is the thing to look at, and I wonder whether some who speak with such force on this matter have ever taught children for two hours consecutively in order to know something of them when they come to deal with the problem in this House. Are the children, because of the extravagant point of view of managers, to be thrust out of the national system, and therefore not to secure access to teachers of proved ability? Are we to run the risk of losing support for the schools because of the point of view of these managers? What does it mean? It means friction; it means a reduced scale of expenditure because of the difficulty of once more stimulating private subscribers to Church funds. The undoubted effect will be a type of teacher less efficient, because you cannot enter into the teaching market on equal terms with local authorities; therefore you get what I may term, without offence, the dregs of the teaching profession to staff the schools while you have managers who desire to take their schools outside the national system. As for the teachers, they are put, as it were, into a little ringed fence, from which there is no escape, for I can foresee that in these schools which are taken out of the national system, the teachers will have the utmost difficulty in once more passing the fence which is put round them and joining their colleagues in the national system of education. As far as Clause 2 is concerned, I take the strongest possible exception to any possibility of taking out a school from the national system and subjecting the children in them to disabilities against which they themselves have no appeal.

Clause 3 suggests the right of entry by the amateur teacher. On two mornings of the week we are to make provision for some teacher other than one of the certified teachers of the school to come and give the special denominational religious teaching required. That means in these single schools, which are generally small, and many of them are schools with one room and a small classroom, the portioning of the main room off to make provision for the little sectarians, made so from no choice of their own. The public school is a place which should combine and not disintegrate. The public schools should train the children in the esprit de corps of citizenship and of nationality. But you are going to impress upon them in their tender years that the Jews must have no dealings with the Samaritans, that the Gentiles are to be kept apart, as it were, from those who will contaminate them, and each one must be herded in his own little flock and have his own particular teacher. Then it is suggested that you must keep the teacher there—and this is-a curious admission from the other side—to maintain discipline. That means that the people who are going to do this amateur work are inefficient and that you require to have a recognised teacher to use some means—I do not know whether the rifle will have a high or low trajectory—to coerce the children to give a proper amount of respect and deference to the teacher who is coming among them to give them special instruction in the name of religion.

That is what amazes me, this right of entry by the amateur to attempt to settle this difficulty, quoting the parent as his strongest supporter. I should hope ere long we might get to real educational matters, which have been long overlooked in this House. While we are talking about this precious sectarian question, which, ought no longer to be allowed to obtrude itself in our educational system, the questions of half-time employment and continuation schools, of attention to the medical relief of the children, who are going out from our schools suffering physical disabilities from which they might be relieved if proper attention were given, are laid aside. All these things, which, from the point of view of pure education, really matter, are placed aside in this House where real education ought to be discussed as frequently as any other subject. Whether we like it or not, education is quickly becoming our first line of defence and not our second, and we are remaining behind some of our Continental neighbours, because we choose to allow things which are not essential in school management priority over thinks which are purely educational. You may take it that at any rate the associated teachers of the country will, so long as they have the power of appeal to the parents of the children they teach, endeavour to prevent the intrusion of the amateur to the upsetting of the school in the first half-hour of its opening. Neither the right of entry nor contracting out will make for final peace, but some of the ideals which have been written in the memoranda of the Board of Education will satisfy the requirements of the public. If this were the ideal of the pseudo-educationists, we might begin to have Education Bills properly discussed. This was what was written as the introduction to the Code of 1905. Would that its spirit were prevalent in every school! I believe it is more prevalent in the schools than out- side; but would that its spirit were prevalent amongst boards of management and those outside them, who would prod managers on to a solution which cannot bring peace:— The purpose of the public elementary school is to form and strengthen the character and to develop the intelligence of the children entrusted to it. That is done in every lesson that is given in the school. It is done in the reading lesson, in the lesson on English literature and the like and, believe me, the fact of the teacher's personality counts for more than his words when he is giving that particular denominational form of religious teaching for which some hon. Members so cordially appeal. As a matter of fact, though there are teachers who give this religious instruction, they would willingly surrender the right if we could have a national system of education providing access for them to council schools as well as their own denominational schools. The exceptions are those who are of the faith of the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), and I am bound to say for them at least that I do not hear of them making attempts to be exempted from giving special religious teaching. The Roman Catholic teachers are in a different category. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] I will tell the hon. Member why. They hold firmly to the creed and have the belief, which nothing seems to be able to shake, that the schools shall be on denominational lines. The teachers in the other non-provided schools, I think, in the main are prepared to leave those schools if the local authorities were willing to open county council schools to them. [An HON. MEMBER: "NO."] Let me tell the hon. Member who says, "No," that at the local associations of teachers resolutions have been brought forward expressing a desire that the county councils should throw open the council school headships to them. This demand for retention inside of our national system—I do not now speak for Roman Catholic schools—of the dual system is a bogus demand in the main so far, at least, as teachers are concerned. Another ideal for which the Board of Education has made itself responsible—I hope that soon it will have power to carry out its ideals—is contained in the suggestions for the consideration of teachers published by the Board in 1905. There it is set forth that the purpose of a school is to form the character of the child, and that the high function of the teacher is to prepare the child for the life of a good citizen. That is not dependant upon a half-hour's in- struction, in the catechism if you like; it depends upon the teacher breathing out an influence over every phase of the school life of the child.


I should like to say that if the opinions expressed by the hon. Member (Mr. Goldstone) were very generally held, anything in the nature of compromise or settlement of this question would be almost impossible. I agree with him that the chief element in education is the formation of character, but I differ from him when he says that in the formation of character the teaching of religion is a non-essential element.


I would ask the hon. Member to keep clear of confusing religious teaching with denominational and sectarian teaching.


I will come to that in a moment, but the hon. Member must know that many educationists who hold most earnest opinions on education problems, take the view that the place where religious instruction is necessary and appropriate is the dogmatic and denominational school. I am not going to discuss for the moment whether that is true or not. It is sufficient for my purpose to say that there are a large number of people in the country who hold that view, and you have to deal with that phase of the question if you seek to settle the, question on any kind of national line. I agree with the hon. Member opposite that one of the greatest elements in education is the teacher, but I differ from him in what he seems to infer, that our educational system is for the teacher. My view is that our educational system is for the children.


That was my case.


I followed the speech of the hon. Gentleman very carefully. He is acknowledged as an authority on educational matters. When he was talking about teaching and objecting to anyone coming into a school in an amateur form, he carried to my mind the impression that the first element in his mind was the teacher and not the children. I would point out in support of that opinion that he drew a distinction between the Romanist view and the Anglican view. So far as laymen are concerned, there is really no difference whatever in regard to this matter. The hon. Member's only objection to that was that when you come to the teacher you find that the Romanist teacher takes a rather different view from the Anglican teacher. I deny that. But I say it is quite immaterial whether that is so or not. What we want is proper teaching, so that the plastic mind of the small child whose character is being formed may be shaped in the best mould for making him a good citizen in future. I wish to approach the question of education administration in such a way as to meet, so far as possible, the extremely friendly suggestions made by the hon. Member who moved the Second Reading of the Bill. I want to see how far we can come together on a matter of very first-rate importance, but before dealing with his suggestions I would say that the Seconder of the Motion spoke as though Churchmen desired privilege and ascendency in matters of education. I can tell him that he is quite wrong, and it is because a large number of Nonconformists do not appreciate the standpoint of Churchmen that we get a much too bitter tone in this education controversy. I agree with the Mover of the Bill that we want equality. That problem is a difficult one, as no one can deny. I may say on behalf of lay Churchmen that we have had many schemes before us in which we have tried to get an ideal system which could be accepted by different parties. The difficulty I have in accepting the view put forward by the Mover of the Bill is that if the Bill were accepted you would undoubtedly emphasise the inequality which exists at the present moment. I will endeavour to point out quite clearly why that is so. The funds for educational purposes are equally contributed by those who desire denominational and undenominational teaching. I do not want to put it as a matter between Churchmen and Nonconformists, because Romanists desire denominational teaching as well as Churchmen. There were at one time a larger number of Nonconformists belonging to the Wesleyans, to which I understand the hon. Member belongs—


No, no.


I beg the hon. Member's pardon.


I am not good enough.


I apologise. What we want to consider is not Churchmen and Nonconformists, but the people who earnestly desire and believe in denominational education. What do we want to arrive at? We want a system, if possible, by which both parties will have the same treatment and the same opportunities. That is the only desire Churchmen have. If the hon. Gentleman opposite would make clear to us that what he regards as privilege and ascendency can be got rid of with an approach to equality, I think we would all agree to his Bill; but we have got to have regard to history. The effect of the 1870 compromise as it is called, was really to rate-aid and State-aid the undenominational system. No one will deny that. At that time what are now non-provided schools were provided schools. I do not want to go back into that matter, but I want to put this point.

Is it possible, take any test you like, to put a school system on a basis of equal treatment on the lines which the proposer of this Bill suggests—namely, that you shall give no assistance whatever from any public funds except to undenominational schools? Churchmen are not passive resisters, though they might be, but it is often forgotten that these funds which are going to be given to an undenominational system only are to be provided by people who, as regards the greater proportion of the tax, according to investigations made, believe in denominational education in the elementary schools. Take the question of principles often put forward; those who pay money have a right to equal treatment when you are carrying out a public work. It would be contrary to all principles and equity that these funds contributed by both parties in the State should be applied absolutely to one party—namely, the undenominational. I did not hear the entire of the speech of the hon. Member for East Mayo, but I say that to all of us who desire denominational teaching, whether Anglicans or Romanists, unless we come together on a common basis which we can both support—that is, the common basis of equal treatment and opportunity there is a risk, though perhaps not an immediate risk, of descending to what is the worst system of all—namely, the secular system in our public elementary schools. The hon. Member who proposed the Bill pointed out the two difficulties of the teacher and the managers. He is not proposing to deal with them. All he has done in his Bill is to say that if the denominations give up their schools in the single school areas, then, as a matter of grace, as a matter of facility, they are to have in their own schools, which they own at present, a right of entry under very difficult circumstances for two days in the week. That is, he proposes, by giving pre-eminence to undenominational as compared with denominational teaching, actually to bring before the mind of the child—take the child of a Church parent—that he is not entitled to the same treatment as regards the religion of his parents, as a matter of right, as the child of the Nonconformist parent desiring the undenominational teaching. If the hon. Member looks into these single school areas he will find that in the aggregate there is a very large majority of Church parents. It is not true always, and where it is true I am most desirous that a remedy should be introduced, but it is generally true, that the effect of the proposal made would be this; to deprive 90 per cent, of the children of the education which they are now receiving, which the parents desire, in order to take away what he suggests is the unfair treatment of the other 5 per cent.


Does the hon. Gentleman suggest that it is only 5 per cent.?

3.0 P.M.


In many cases it is so. I am not dealing with it generally, but I am not exaggerating in the least in what I say. If we take it generally we can regard it as more. But undoubtedly you would be depriving the majority of the children of that which the parents desire at the present moment, and you would be sacrificing them to the claim of the minority. And when we are dealing with unfair conditions it is a monstrous proposition to attempt to equalise the scale by creating what is admittedly a greater injustice on the part of the majority. Every one who has dealt with the question of school areas from the Church point of view, in order to bring about a fair solution, has thought that in these areas, until some general national system can be adopted, we ought to give the fullest possible facilities for teaching according to the views of Nonconformist or undenominational parents. I assume that the proposer thinks it is a very important matter, because it is his own view that the denominational element can be dealt with by giving merely a right of entry. We want to give a much fuller right of entry. We want to provide undenominational teaching in all our Church schools, not for two days of the week, but for every day. That is what the National Society have decided, and the Church laymen—the representative Church meeting in the House of Laymen of the two provinces. That is what we have always desired. I may give a practical illustration. Many years ago in my own parish we did that. We said that we would give any form of religious education to any child, because though it would be a matter of expense we are not a poor parish, or to any group of children who wanted any particular form of denominational education. I think that that is quite right, and I regret any case where the managers of denominational schools are not prepared to give the fullest facilities to the children of parents of other denominations, or of those who desire undenominational teaching as the case may be.

I understood that the hon. Member opposite agrees with the views which I have always expressed on this side as regards teachers—that it is immoderate to ask a teacher to give religious instruction in a religion in which he does not believe. I may put it this way. It would be immoderate to ask a Nonconformist teacher to give such instruction to a Romanist child, and equally immoderate to ask a Romanist teacher to give religious instruction to a Nonconformist child. Is he really prepared to help us in following out to its logical conclusion a statement of that kind? It means this, that in every school where you want to go in for proper and religious teaching you must have teachers, not amateurs, properly prepared and properly trained. That is the very essence of the religious teaching of the small children of this country. I appeal to the hon. Member to carry out that view to its logical result, both in our training colleges and in our selection of the teachers, that where the teacher is asked to give the children religious teaching in a particular denomination he shall be a member of that denomination or an undenominational teacher, as the case may require. That being so, what becomes of his view as regards teachers' grievances? From the point of view of the children what grievance is there if we think, as a matter of general principle, that the children should have a form of religious teaching, in asking any teacher, a public official, to comply with the necessary conditions, namely, that that teacher shall believe in it and believe in it heart and soul before he attempts to teach it to young children?

What becomes of the teachers' grievance? It is a monstrous thing to suggest—take an atheistical teacher, if you like, or a Church of England teacher, or a teacher who is a Wesleyan—that it is hard upon him to select him to give a form of teaching which it would be cynical to ask him to give at all. When we come to that point I appeal to the hon. Member to back up the view he has expressed in this House that, apart from what I may call the special rights of teachers, the rights of children demand that no teacher should teach any religious form that he himself does not believe in heart and soul. Coming to the next point, I think I am going a long way now to meet the hon. Member opposite. Of course it would be absurd to have a denominational teacher without you have denominational managers also. There is no trust fund in this country which is a denominational trust that does not at the same time provide for denominational managers. If you have denominational men—that is to say, if you have Romanists for Romanist schools, or Anglicans for Anglican schools—for my part I am not very particular how those managers are selected. Let me say what I mean by that. A great deal is often said about the appointment of managers by the local body, the county council, or the education authority. The only difficulty in our country districts is not that people are rushing forward to become managers; the real difficulty is to find competent people who will undertake the duties. In Church schools, owing to Church views, it is more difficult to get competent managers than it is under ordinary election by the local education authority. If you really mean equal treatment of denominational schools, if you will say that you will either appoint or select a teacher, whether by the foundation managers or the local educational authority, and if you at the same time make it a condition that the managing body of any denominational school shall be members of the denomination of that particular school, then I will meet the hon. Member and say that I think that ought to be sufficient for all reasonable purposes. That would take away once for all what is no doubt an exaggerated grievance, that the managing body is not appointed by the local education authority.


Will the hon. Gentleman say how that is to apply to single school areas where there is only one school?


I will say that in a moment. I am trying to meet hon. Members opposite. We want education, and not sectarianism in our schools. [HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] I am glad to hear that cheer from hon. Members opposite. We Churchmen have been attempting to make that quite clear to our fellow-countrymen for a large number of years. I am trying to make it clear now in what I am saying. First, I do not care how the managing bodies are appointed as long as you guarantee what is essential, that where you have a denominational system it is absolutely essential that those who manage the denominational schools should belong to that particular denomination. The hon. Member asked me how I would deal with this matter as regards our single school area. Suppose we were starting afresh, I think there would be no difficulty at all, because I would assent to a system which has been found perfectly just abroad—in fact, if I may say so, perhaps it is rather a satire on the religious feeling of this country, which, I believe, is the only country where, whatever the reason may be, religious controversies have been so acute that we have not been able to settle this education question without everlastingly referring to them again and again. In the double school areas, of course, you ought to have a denominational and undenominational school. That was the proposition of the hon. Member opposite. I think he is quite right. If you have a denominational school and an undenominational school you solve the question.

We come to the single school area. Supposing we were starting again. If in a particular school you found Nonconformists in the majority, as I dare say they are in a good many parishes down in Launceston Division, you ought to have a school there with facilities given to the minority, who in that case would be members of the Church of England. The way to deal with that is to have a headmaster respresenting the majority and a second teacher representing the minority, and allowing the religious teaching to be given by the teacher either in one case or the other. I go to the next parish, and I find that a very large majority of the people want denominational teaching. They ought to have it. The school in that case ought to be a denominational school, and you cannot help it; you cannot provide for everyone; but the minority in that case would be given facilities in the school belonging to the majority. If people would really meet us on a large settlement of this question, this system works admirably where it has been tried. There could be this provision, that once in five years—or a larger number of years—you could take a new census in order to see whether the majority has changed across from one side to the other. Is it not in accordance with sound principle that in single school areas the majority of those who benefit by the education ought to have the form of religious teaching which their parents think is right, and then that we should proceed as well as we can to give the minority ample facilities in every possible direction? I see that the hon. Member apparently assents to what I have said. Are we likely to get what I may call a wise solution of this question at the present moment from hon. Members opposite? Are we likely to get, without the opposition at any rate of the extremists, a fair readjustment of our whole education system based on the view that it is the parent's right to decide what sort of religious instruction he should have for his child, and that, it is the duty of the State in every district to provide as far as possible that equal terms and equal treatment should be made to meet a demand of that kind? We Churchmen, I am sure I speak for most lay Churchmen, are prepared, if the other side will meet us, to attempt to deal with the whole religious question, the whole education question in this country, on the wide lines that I have represented. Where you have two schools, have them of both classes. Where you have one school, you must have it of the class to which the majority belong, in all cases giving the most ample facilities you possibly can in order to protect the, rights of the minority. But, meantime, you cannot expect denominations to give up what I may call the scanty opportunity which they have at the present ime. It is quite true that some of the objections which the hon. Member has referred to do apply in single school areas. That is only part of the story. I believe that more than half the children who want denominational education are deprived of it at the present time by the absurd Cowper-Temple principle. That principle is redolent of mediaeval intolerance. It was adopted as a makeshift because at that time the two parties who earnestly opposed one another seemed more desirous that neither of them should succeed than that each of them should have equality. I say toleration, rests on a different principle, and I am prepared to apply it. It rests on the desire to give the man from whom you differ exsactly the same rights as you are asking for yourself. We shall not preserve religious education in this country by attempting to put it on one side and to consecrate some neutral formula. We can only preserve it by having a great variety in all form of religious beliefs, because there is a great variety in the form of religious expression amongst the citizens of this country. That is what I want to contribute to this Debate. I want to make it quite clear that we Churchmen have an earnest spirit of equality, liberty, and tolerance in this matter of religious education. We do believe that it can only be solved in relation to the desires and the rights of parents. I appeal to the hon. Member opposite, if he wants to put in force the general principles to which he referred so eloquently, to join us on the lines that I have indicated, and I hope that this religious question may be ultimately settled fairly and equitably.


I have known the hon. Member for Launceston (Sir Croydon Marks) for some years now and I am sure that so far as education is concerned that, from the caricature of his opinions given us by the hon. and learned Member who has just spoken, I should fail to recognise him altogether. The hon. Member for the Launceston Division, according to the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Sir A. Cripps), is really in favour of denominational teaching, and in favour of a denominational manager and in favour of denominational teachers. We know full well that that is not the attitude of the hon. Member at all. The fact of the matter is I could not help feeling, when the hon. and learned Member was speaking, he presented such a horrible caricature of what he would have if he had his way with regard to this matter that even I, personally, would much rather have a secular system and a secular solution. I venture to say to hon. Members opposite that they are dealing with this Bill, which is so eminently in their favour in this sense that they will never get a more satisfactory solution, in such a manner as to convince the country that the only possible solution is the secular solution. I remember some years ago when I spoke on this question in this House that the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) came to the conclusion that I was an advocate of secular education. That is very far from my views. I am strongly in favour of the subtle and recipient mind of the child being influenced by Bible teaching at the outset, because I know, as most Members know, that the best influence they have had at the start of life is the influence they have had from the Bible. That being so, I say if you are going to repeat the constant squabble with regard to this question that then you had better get religion left out of the schools altogether and leave it to the Sunday school teachers, and confine your elementary schools to secular instruction.

The hon. and learned Member spoke about the children who have been receiving instruction under the Cowper-Temple Clause, and referred to their living under the tyranny of the Cowper-Temple Clause. Does he not know that ever since 1870 the local authorities in this country have of their own choice adopted Cowper-Temple instruction. They could get denominational instruction outside. Under the old Board school system, with a few exceptions—and I know there were a few—it was undenominational teaching that was used. [Lord Hugh Cecil indicated dissent.] Will the Noble Lord bear with me for a moment? On the School Boards you had representatives of all denominations, and there has been no difficulty at all when you had Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Nonconformists speaking together round a table in deciding upon a solution which was acceptable to all parties concerned, leaving the denominational instruction, mark you, which they thought desirable, to be given in other places and at other times. What is the difficulty about that? If that has worked so well so far as the majority of the schools since 1870, why should it not be carried through in all the schools of the country? The hon. and learned Member seemed to be under the impression that some denomination must have the school. He spoke about it, as, that if there were a majority of children in the district who belonged to the Church of England the school ought to belong to the Church of England, and that if the majority were Nonconformists that the Nonconformists ought to have the school. He forgets there is as much difference between Nonconformists and Nonconformists as there is between Nonconformists and Anglicans. I am a Baptist, and I do not believe in baptismal regeneration, whether it is performed by Congregationalists or Wesleyans, any more than by Anglicans. If you go to some villages where you have got a majority of Baptists, does the hon. and learned Member mean that therefore the school is to be a Baptist school? You would have such a variety by such a system that it would be a caricature of education.

The school must belong to the State, and not to a congregation, and when you have got the State school then let the State give all the facilities it possibly can to the various denominations represented in it. The compromise which the hon. and learned Member seemed to indicate was a compromise all the one way. His idea was that he was carrying my hon. Friend the Member for Launceston apparently along with him in saying that you ought to have denominational teaching in the first place, and in the next place if you have you must have teachers appointed—and I quite agree with him in this, that if you are going to have denominational teaching that it must be given, and ought to be given, by some person who believes in the doctrine which he professes to teach. That, however, does not mean that it is of necessity a State teacher who is to give the instruction. According to the hon. and learned Member, you are first to start with the necessity of having denominational teaching, and then he jumped to the conclusion that you must have a State teacher who believes in the particular doctrine and at the expense of the State. He goes on to say that the denominational teacher is to be appointed by denominational managers. That is a fair-minded compromise. It is a compromise all the one way. We cannot agree to that.

I had hopes, I must confess, that when my hon. Friend was introducing this Bill, and this is the reason why I permitted my name to go on the back of it, that this matter would be brought to a settlement, and that hon. Gentlemen opposite would accept it as a settlement of the single school area question. I had hopes, because I am anxious that this thing should be settled. The moment the question is settled you have deprived us of the strongest part of our case; but, despite all that, I hoped that this Bill would bring a settlement of the question in single school areas. I think by the attitude which hon. Members opposite have taken up to-day, so far as I understand it, that they have put themselves out of court with regard to this question for some time to come. It means that next year the Prime Minister, who has given us his promise to introduce—[An HON. MEMBER: "The Member for Bootle,' and laughter]—I do not know whether I interpret the laughter of hon. Members opposite in the right sense, but am I to assume that they think we shall not have the chance of dealing with this question? [HON. MEMBERS: "Certainly."] If that is so I remember that there are hon. Members opposite who are anxious for Home Rule, and that the Government will be kept in and will be voted in by those Gentlemen. I would have them remember that upon these benches the majority are Nonconformists, who desire to see a settlement of this education question, and we are going to vote for the Government until it is settled. Let not hon. Members opposite think they have got to the end yet. They may go on pledging themselves as much as they like, drawing upon the future, but I would advise them to see that they have a balance at the bank which is likely to correspond to the promises they are making. I think we shall see a Government Bill introduced next Session and carried, and that Bill I trust, at any rate, will be a much stronger thing than the measure introduced to-day by my hon. Friend. So far as I am concerned, I hope that we shall have a settlement which will retain religious instruction in the schools. As I said before, I am anxious that all children, to whatever denomination they belong, should have religious instruction in the days of their youth. I remember reading some words by Matthew Arnold with reference to the Bible, with which I think all Members will agree. They were these:— There is but one literature, and that is the literature of the Bible. Chords of power are touched by its instruction which no other part of the instruction of a popular elementary school can reach. I agree with that, and I want to see religious instruction retained in our elementary schools. I would warn hon. Gentlemen opposite against any opposition to the fair scheme set out in the Bill of my hon. Friend, which would lead people to think that the only solution of the difficulty is the secular solution. I would join with them most heartily, sincerely, and warmly in warding off that secular solution. Do not let us on either side be unreasonable. It is quite evident that in this country you have to deal with all sorts and conditions of religious opinion. Let us take them all into consideration, and under a State system of education, such as we must have here, let us give proper, fair, and reasonable facilities to those who desire denominational instruction in the schools.


We have had an extremely interesting Debate, which has been enlivened during the last few minutes by the hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Hay Morgan), who has sketched with a lucidity that left nothing to be desired the intentions of the party of which he is a distinguished Member. Nonconformists are going to vote for Home Rule in the hope of getting a satisfactory solution of the education question, while Nationalists are going to vote for whatever Education Bill is brought forward in the hope of getting Home Rule. That is the Radical conception of democratic self-government. The Debate was opened by speeches which were listened to with great pleasure and profound respect in all parts of the House. The Mover and Seconder spoke with a moderation beyond praise, and treated the subject in a most encouraging as well as in a most interesting way. Certainly the spirit that they showed in their speeches is one that raises in the minds of all of us a hope which has never been absent from my own—that there might be on the education question an understanding between the Church of England and Nonconformity leading to a final solution. I heard the hon. Member who seconded this Bill (Mr. Silvester Horne) with peculiar respect, because he is also a minister of the Gospel, and therefore is accustomed to the teaching of religion in another capacity. I could not help feeling, as he dealt with the subject, that he did not see quite as clearly as he might have done our point of view in respect to the status of the teachers in elementary schools. So far as the professional career of the teacher is concerned we are entirely in sympathy with his desire that that career should be made as easy and as fruitful in reward of merit as it can be made. But if you think, as he thinks, and as we think, that religion should be part of elementary school teaching, it is obvious that you must exact from the teachers, whether you have an undenominational or a denominational system, a certain level of religious belief. Otherwise they cannot give religious teaching.

There is no real hardship in that, any more than there is in asking that Ministers of religion should believe that which they teach. Ministers of religion are in positions of emolument, and there are many advantages in their career which might be said to tempt people unduly and improperly to a hypocritical assumption of religious conviction if you require a particular sort of religious belief in any person in the position of a religious teacher whether in church or in chapel. But if you want a minister of religion he must be paid, and you must exact from him that he believes what he is going to teach. That applies just as much in school as outside. If you are to have religious teaching you must require of the teacher that he honestly believes what he is going to teach. The hardship, so far as it is a hardship, applies just as much in an undenominational as in a denominational system. You cannot ask a Jew, or an atheist, or a Mahomedan, or anybody who does not accept the Bible, to give Bible teaching. If you are going further and intend to have definite Christian teaching, you cannot ask anyone who is an agnostic or in any sense a freethinker to give that Christian teaching. You do not escape from the difficulty by having an undenominational system. What would go far to meet the difficulty and substantially give an opening to all Nonconformists is to classify the schools, as my hon. Friend pointed out, in correspondence with the convictions of the majority of the population. That applies also to the teachers, because there is, roughly speaking, in proportion to the population, a career open to any individual Nonconformist or Churchman to fill the post of teacher in some, school attached to the denomination of which he is a member. I do not think the question of the teachers must stand in our way in making a religious settlement. I do not think it need do so. We can find room for teachers of all denominations in the national system, even though we classify the schools as we should like to do according to the denominational belief of the population.

I listened with great respect and much sympathy to the speech with which the Debate was opened, but I cannot say that I listened with any such feelings to the speech of the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon). The hon. Member said very truly that he has taken part in these Debates on education for many years. I also have been in a great many of these Debates, but I do not remember the hon. Member figuring importantly in any character except as a false friend of religious education. He always gets up to betray our cause. The truth is, of course, that the hon. Member, as he is quite entitled to be, is an Irish Nationalist and a Radical first, caring a great deal more about the cause of Nationalism and of Radicalism than he does about the cause of religious education. He is always prepared to sacrifice the interests of the denominational schools to what he conceives to be the interests of Home Rule, or the interests of the Radical party.

How he can still pass himself off as a protagonist of Roman Catholic denominational teaching I cannot see. If there are Roman Catholics who still believe in him, I can only say that that attiude justifies the criticism of their Protestant friends— that theirs is a form of belief that leads to over-credulity. The hon. Gentleman the Member for East Mayo went back to an achievement of which his thinks he has every reason to be proud. He referred to a certain Amendment which he moved to add parents' representatives to the boards of management under the Act of 1902. Well, that Amendment—and the hon. Member is an accomplished Parliamentarian—was moved under circumstances in which he knew perfectly well that, if carried, it would wreck the Bill. He therefore moved it! A little later the Bill was rejected. As might have been expected, the Amendment was supported by all those vehement opponents of the Bill, who cared nothing about the merits of the question, but wanted to wreck the Bill. Later, on the Report stage. I ventured to move an Amendment which really did go to the root of the present grievances, which gave every Nonconformist the right to have his own teaching in any school in the country—the right of entry both in the non-provided and in the provided schools. That Amendment, moved by myself, was seconded by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dudley. It was rejected. I have looked up the Division List, and I find that the hon. Member for East Mayo did not take the trouble to take part in the Division. So much for his zeal for the rights of parents when it does not give him an opportunity for wrecking the hopes of denominational teaching. He uses the rights of parents as a cloak by which he hopes to stab denominational religious teaching in the back. I do not know whether his enthusiasm has impressed hon. Members opposite. It seems to me very like the enthusiasm and loyalty of a dog when it expects its dinner.

Our attitude, which counts for everything in this controversy, is that of the respect for the sincere convictions of those who brought in this Bill. We most thoroughly feel the necessity laid upon us to recognise that they have a grievance. We are not insincere in this case, but we are not blind to the difficulties of the situation. Let me call the attention of hon. Members opposite to the resolutions passed both by the standing committee of the National Society—which may be regarded as the seal of denominational enthusiasm for religious teaching—and by the Representative Church Council. The standing committee passed this resolution only a few months ago:— The standing committee desires to renew the expression of its strong conviction of the very great importance of a frank and kindly initiative being taken by Church school managers, with a view to ascertaining and meeting the wishes of those Nonconformist parents who have not a school to which they can send their children. That resolution has gone to every bishop of the Church of England, has been supported by the bishops and pressed by them upon the attention of their clergy. The Representative Church Council also passed this resolution:— That the Representative Church Council earnestly desires to promote educational peace founded on the principle of religious equality and recognises the claim of Church parents to equality of treatment in the religious instruction of their children in the public elementary schools. To that a rider was added to the effect that the Church Council was further of the opinion that in Church schools and in single school areas it was desirable that alternative forms of religious teaching should be offered to parents. I do not deny that there are individual persons who are narrow-minded and bigoted, but it cannot be denied that the authorities of the Church of England have done their very best to promote a friendly understanding.


Has that ever been carried out?


I think it is. The difficulty would be to get hold of cases where it has been refused. We would do our very best, and use what influence we possess, to meet the desires of Nonconformist parents in any cases brought to the notice dither of the National Society or any other leading Church authority. What is it we complain of? I am quite sure that the hon. Gentlemen who moved and seconded this Amendment understands our complaint? Is it impossible to come to agreement? The root of the matter, as I ventured to say yesterday in Committee of Supply, is that we regard undenominational religious teaching as another sort of religious teaching from our own. That is the point. What hon. Members have naturally in their minds is the old theory, which we are quite convinced is an unsound theory, that you can have a substratum of religious teaching of an undenominational character, and then can build upon it, in Sunday school or elsewhere, a denominational superstructure. We are quite sure that this is unsound, and we can never consent to a settlement on that basis. So far as a settlement by consent goes, there must be recognised that by our religious convictions an undenominational system is fundamentally and essentially an unsound one—a system which differs from our faith very much as Protestantism differs from Romanism. There are, of course, common elements, but it differs fundamentally.

But we shall miss what is, perhaps, the most interesting and important thing that has happened in our time if we do not notice that there is a great religious movement going on—a great movement of religious opinion perhaps I should rather say—and that movement of religious opinion is moving away from the old Nonconformist and old evangelical position in regard to the Bible. It is getting away altogether from what was the common basis which existed in 1870. What is perhaps of coincident and essential importance is that this new movement, call it Moderatism, or the new theology, or whatever you care to name it, naturally adopts the undenominational position. I do not know if hon. Gentlemen read the "Christian Commonwealth," which is a very interesting and a very able paper. The religious point of view of that paper is absolutely inconsistent with Church of England doctrine. It is an undenominational form of religion that the "Christian Commonwealth" teaches. Is it reasonable, in any degree, in view of a great movement of opinion like that, to ask us to accept as the normal rule in the State schools of the country a form of education conformable to that sort of religion? What would have been thought at the outset of the Reformation by a proposal that the Catholics in Europe should accept a form of religious education formed on the basis of Luther's teaching on "Justification by Faith"? Yet we are asked to accept a similar position.

The religious education of the undenominational system is absolutely non-acceptable to us. We never can accept it. We are convinced that sooner or later it would destroy, not only the Church of England, but Christianity itself. [HON MEMBERS: "No, no."] We are quite convinced that it would be so. I am even more convinced that, great as are the evils and the dangers that would follow from a purely secular system of education, they would be smaller than the danger of an undenominational system. Is it not possible to hon. Members, who have gone such a long way to understand our position, to see that to propose, as they do in this Bill, to have in our own schools—schools built by Church money and naturally endeared to us by association—to have in these schools this undenominational system which we detest as the rule, and our teaching as the exception, is really unreasonable and intolerable?

It is like going to a Roman Catholic and proposing to make Protestantism the rule in the school and in the building associated with his religious ideas. If you do not propose it in that case, why should you propose it in this? What we want recognised is that, broadly, there are two ideals of religious teaching, as has been said by the hon. Member for Dudley, namely, the undenominational and the denominational, which must be treated with absolute equality, and, being treated with absolute equality, we can have a settlement founded upon that basis. What is it that we care about in religious teaching? It is the effect upon the child's conviction. Evidently religious teaching is unimportant unless it has an effect upon the child's convictions; otherwise it is mere waste of time and is not worth giving. I do not mean, of course, that every child who receives denominational teaching always adopts that point of view, but it is a tendency in that direction that operates upon every child. If that be not so, then we are fighting about nothing, and it is quite evident that hon. Members themselves think it is so, because they complain of Nonconformist children being subjected to the influence of Church teaching. Again, they say it is hard to subject Nonconformists to Church teaching, but, if that is so, the converse must also be true. You cannot leave the child's mind really neutral on religion; if you do not form the conviction you want to form, some other conviction will be formed, perhaps the conviction to reject religion altogether. If you do not give that impulse to the child's mind the mind will move in another direction. The hon. Member who has just sat down said the present system works very unsatisfactorily. That is so. Generally Nonconformists and Churchmen alike agree in deploring the present tendency. They all say religious belief is fallen into, decay, and that churches and chapels are empty. We say it is part of the effect of this great movement of opinion, and we say that the undenominational system plays into their hands. Therefore, it is to us a matter of life and death to have equality of treatment and that undenominational teaching should not be in a position of advantage. If Wesleyan Methodists were in the position of advantage that undenominationalists are, it would be a great deal less dangerous to the beliefs of the Church of England and would tend a great deal less to the overthrow of that teaching, and it would be a great deal higher moral and spiritual efficiency than undenominational teaching. This is the gist of the whole matter. If hon. Members will accept the doctrine of equal treatment between denominational and undenominational teaching let us appoint a round table conference or a Royal Commission, or what you please, and it will be settled in three months. But unless and until they accept that equality of treatment it is vain to hope for a settlement by consent.


Without, any disrespect to the Noble Lord, I propose to deal later on with one or two of the subjects he has dealt with in his speech. I should like to bring this House back to the Bill and explain exactly what its proposals are and how they will affect the children in the elementary schools of this country. We have at present 20,757 schools in England and Wales, receiving Government Grants and grants by local education authorities. We have 12,751 unprovided schools and 8,006 provided schools. Now the average attendance in the unprovided schools is 2,192,000, and in the provided schools 3,164,000, making a total of 5,356,000 children in average attendance. I should point out that of the single school areas the Bill does not affect 1,896 single provided schools, and 380 areas of minor local education authorities where there are more than one provided school. The number of schools which the Bill does affect in single school areas is 5,706, with an average attendance of about 430,000 children, and then by the definition of what school area is in Clause 6, Sub-section (6), there apparently is going to be included in the Bill not only the single school areas, but areas where there is more than one unprovided school, and therefore I must, add probably something like 1,200 to 1,300 schools and also an average attendance of something like 50,000 to 60,000 children. So, in other words, I am advised the Bill will affect about 500,000 children and about 7,000 voluntary schools.

The number of voluntary schools that will be affected will be 5,950 in which the average attendance is 1,713,000 children. In other words, the Bill will affect more than half the voluntary schools of this country but rather less than one-fourth of the children attending the voluntary schools. There will be left outside the Bill all the children under Part 3 of the Act of 1902 in urban districts of over 20,000 population and in boroughs of over 10,000. Under these there are two areas in which only provided schools exist, and there are fifteen containing non-provided, while in the remainder there is a choice of schools. I point out there are fifteen areas in which Nonconformists' grievances will be felt just as much in these areas as those which are included in the Bill. There are also a number of county council authorities in which there may be alternative schools but no places available. There are, in addition to them, 135 boroughs and seventy-four county boroughs to which this Bill will not apply. The reason for this Bill is entirely attributable to the injustice which we feel may be placed at the door of the late Government by the Bill which they passed in the year 1902. Yesterday I alluded to the effect that that Bill had on educationalists in discouraging them in their work. It also aroused a great deal of religious controversy, and it diverted the energy of those who ought to work together for the common good of the children of the country in directions which only produce bad results. At the same time I desire to recognise, and I think it would be ungenerous not to do so, that there were some good features in connection with the Bill of 1902. It had rendered possible co-ordination, it has systematised the organisation of our whole system of education, and undoubtedly has been an advantage to the community. I feel that I have behind me the bulk of the education authorities when I say that under the provisions of this Bill they do feel hampered in providing the best education for the country which otherwise they might be able to give. They cannot control or regulate the teaching staff as they desire to do, and the difficulties of securing efficient and up-to-date schools are always before them, especially in connection with the voluntary schools of the country. From an administrative point of view I think the powers of the local education authorities ought to be considerably increased. The denominational differences ought to be got rid of, dual control ought to be abolished, and I believe it is perfectly easy to keep alive a great variety of provided schools without leaving in our midst the schools of a voluntary character. We do not hear so much about the passive resistance movement as we did a few years ago, but I am quite conscious of this, that the spirit of resistance to the Bill of 1902 is not dead, and Nonconformists feel their grievances as keenly and acutely as ever. We find even in our large towns an enormous number of passive registers coming forward with their goods and handing them over in order to pay their rates, and even if they do not do that, we know there are still hundreds who are passive resisters, and millions who sympathise with them in their views.

4.0 P.M.

This Bill deals with three or four points in connection with our grievances, and may I say how pleased I was to listen to the speech of the hon. Member for East Mayo. He endeavoured in the year 1902 to meet the grievances which we then pointed out to the House of Commons, and to-day he has admitted, in very strong language, the grievances which Nonconformists are still under in this country. The hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) said it was an intolerable grievance that a head teacher should necessarily be a member of the Church of England where the majority of the children were Nonconformists, and he said that if such a position occurred in Ireland they would probably pull the roof off such a school. We feel that in this Bill there is a proposal to abolish tests for teachers and to enable the voluntary schools to be transferred on fair terms. There is a proposal, at any rate, to go a great deal in the direction of reducing the dual system which exists in the country, which is so retrogressive to the true progress of elementary system. I will allude to one or two points on which we may find agreement. I think we do on both sides of the House agree that a parent who wishes to withdraw a child from any denominational religion ought to have that power. We also think that there ought not to be a system of proselytising in our national system and that no one ought to be prejudiced by taking advantage of the Conscience Clause. We at once differ with the Opposition when we come to the question as to whether the State should support sectarian religious teaching. I would point out to the Noble Lord that, whilst there are perhaps two parties who take different views on that particular topic, there are really three parties in the State who look at this question from different points of view. There are those who believe that we should favour the view of the parent, those who take the view that there should be religious education without creed, and those who believe in a secular system. Any two of those sections can defeat the third, and I am afraid that if it is to be a case of creed or no creed, the no creeds will have it; and if it is to be religion or no religion, the religion will have it. When it comes to a solution of this great problem I think we agree that some religion is better than none, and we have to accept the system which is common to the great bulk of members of the Christian faith. I suppose we all agree that it is right the children should be taught the omnipresence and omnipotence of God. We all believe it is right to cultivate in the mind of a child the habit of reverential prayer. We all believe in simple Bible teaching under certain restrictions. Why cannot we allow teaching of that kind to be undertaken in the schools to the advantage of the children? It is quite certain if some system of that kind is not accepted we shall be driven to that counsel of despair, the secular system.

It is proposed under this Bill that facilities should be given from 9 to 9.45 on two mornings of the week, and on Saturdays and Sundays to the managers of voluntary schools. May I point out how difficult that is to carry out. Out of the 7,000 schools which would be affected by this Bill about 1,900 are schools in which there is only one class room, and the Bill only provides that facilities shall be given if reasonable accommodation is available. Under the provisions of this Bill I do not know who is to be the authority to decide whether there is reasonable accommodation available. That is one of the difficulties which we shall have to face in connection with the details of this Bill. It is said that these proposals will reduce the evils of the dual system, and it is suggested that there should be single school areas. On the platform it is easy to talk about single school areas, but it is another thing to try and put into actual practice such a proposal, and define what a single school area is. On this point I foresee an enormous subject for controversy in endeavouring to get individuals to agree as to what should be and what should not be regarded as a single school area in the community. The only solution I can suggest is that we should have a commission, and we should have to accept the decisions of that commission in regard to the boundary of each single school area.

In village life, without any undue tyranny or pressure by the landlord or the squire or anyone of that kind, it is quite impossible for a wage-earner to come forward and to agitate in favour of a provided school. At the present time he is very chary even of withdrawing his child when denominational religion to which he takes exception is being taught. There is a need for alternative schools, but that need does not only press in country districts. The Noble Lord alluded to the generosity of many individuals in the Church who are anxious to meet the Nonconformist grievance and to help them to get rid of a situation where they have no alternative school. I have before me at the present time an instance of a cathedral city where there are six Church of England schools and one Roman Catholic school. One of these Church schools was in a very unsatisfactory condition and the local education authority in 1908 gave notice to provide a new council school. Protests were at once raised by the supporters of the Church of England against that act of justice being carried through by the local education authority. The local education authority gave notice on 2nd April, 1908, to build this school and on 26th June an appeal was addressed to the Board of Education urging that a voluntary school was more suitable for the district, because, the town being a cathedral city, Church-feeling was particularly strong. The result, after prolonged negotiations, is that there is still no council school in the town. There ought to be a choice of school, and, if the representatives of the Church had been in earnest in their desire to help Nonconformists in their grievance, they would not only not have opposed but they would have supported the local education authority in their efforts to secure a remedy of this grievance.


Will the right hon. Gentleman state what town that is?


Lichfield. When the local education authority are willing to provide a council school, it does seem to me not only mean but illiberal for the representatives of the Church to prevent it. I have got many other cases. For instance, in Bury, where there are 7,900 children, only 900 go to a provided school, and there is no other accommodation available for the 7,000 if they happen to be children of Nonconformist parents. The position is the same in many other large Lancashire towns. I submit the problem will not be entirely solved by dealing with the schools in the single school areas. Of course, there are no compulsory powers under the Bill, and, if the schools are not going to be transferred, it means the erection of a great, number of council schools. The cost of this would be upwards of £4,000,000. I cannot give the House the actual figures, if they are transferred, because I can only assume they are all transferred under the absolute power or limited or conditional transfer. It would amount to £105,000, if the 7,000 schools were absolutely transferred; it would amount to £52,000 if they were transferred under a limited proposal; and of course to half that sum if they were transferred under a conditional proposal. I want to point out also to the House what has been the tendency of public opinion. A great deal has been, said this afternoon with regard to the views of the parents. Members of the local education authorities represent the parents of children who attend these elementary schools, and we find a growing inclination on the part of educational authorities to establish more council schools and to come to terms with the owners of voluntary schools. In the year 1902 the number of children in average attendance in the voluntary schools of this country was in the proportion of 100 to 99 in the provided schools. To-day the proportion is 100 to 144. In the ten years which have passed the unprovided schools have diminished by 1,512, while the provided schools have increased by 2,128. The hon. Member for East Mayo was right when he said that no reduction had taken place with the number of Roman Catholic schools. There has been an increase of 18 Roman Catholic schools in the interval. Certainly the Government have no desire to throw cold water on the proposal of the hon. Member for Cornwall. We appreciate that he has made in this Bill not only a genuine but a manly effort to deal with a subject of the very greatest difficulty. On educational grounds the Government are anxious to secure for local educational authorities power to select the best teachers for voluntary as well as for other schools. Under the present system it is really impossible for the best teachers to reach—no matter what their merit is—the top. At the present time we have perpetual conflicts between the local education authority and managers with respect to improvements. Frequent paralysis occurs, and it is left for the Board of Education to bring pressure to bear on the local education authorities and to press managers to bring their schools up to the proper standard for the children attending them. I believe this Bill will be a practical steps towards the settlement of the religious difficulty. The Government propose next year to deal with this subject in a comprehensive manner on a national basis, but we recognise that this Bill proceeds on sound principles, and we are prepared to give it the most hearty support, reserving to ourselves the right to make suggestions on the Committee stage.


There has been a general attack on the Act of 1902, and if I had to embark on the defence of that Act I should like to point out that it was not responsible for the single school area. That existed before, and the Act only gave facilities for the construction of new schools, while it did something to diminish the limitations of the appointment of teachers of the Church of England in voluntary schools by throwing open all teacherships, except head teacherships, to persons of every denomination. I am fully alive to the grievance which those belonging to other denominations than the Church of England have in that matter, and I should be glad to throw head teacherships along with other teacherships open to persons of all denominations. Beyond that, this Debate has taken the normal course of education debates in ranging over a large variety of subjects. I should have been surprised if we had not had a speech from the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) in which he stated that he and the Irish party were the true friends of English Nonconformity. I should have been surprised if we had not heard of the Amendment which he says he brought forward to the Bill of 1902 in the interests of the parents. I very well recollect that Amendment. It gave him the opportunity of doing something which would annoy or harm the Government and its Bill, without doing any special damage to Roman Catholic schools. It was absolutely unworkable, and if it were proposed now, under the same conditions, I should have to do now what I did then, namely, vote against it. I think the hon. Member who introduced this Bill is to be congratulated on the general feeling expressed on all sides of the House in regard to the moderation and the conciliatory tone in which he introduced it. I will tell him why, with great regret, that I must vote for the Amendment. It is this: I compare the Bill with the Bill introduced by the President of the Board of Agriculture in 1908. I voted for the Second Reading of that Bill because I saw in it the possibility of a compromise and settlement of the education question. That Bill broke down on financial grounds before it had gone far in Committee. But this Bill is much more drastic, and is much less conciliatory. It is much harder on denominational schools of all sorts, therefore I shall have to vote against it. All the Education Bills introduced by this Government have been based on this uniform principle, that undenominational teaching was to be the normal type of teaching, that everybody was to pay for it whether they wanted it or not, although they were not to be obliged to attend it unless they desired to do so. Then there came the difficulty that there were a great many denominational schools, because the Church of England in the past had made great sacrifices and expended large sums to promote the education of the people. There is a vast number of Church of England schools, and there are also Roman Catholic schools and Jewish schools, all of which had to be dealt with. They have been dealt with in different ways. The Bill introduced by the Chief Secretary for Ireland gave facilities. The Bill introduced by the Home Secretary was based on contracting out. Now this Bill gives facilities, but it does not allow contracting out. I do not myself think that contracting out is a desirable process, for this reason, that contracting out means that the school lives on the Parliamentary Grants and the voluntary contributions, and that the Parliamentary Grant has to be measured by the limits of subsistence. If you go above that limit you get a great many more schools desiring to contract out than is desirable, and if you keep down to that limit the constant advance in educational expenditure brings that school to a state of starvation, with which you get educational inefficiency.

For that reason I think contracting out undesirable. But it is, at any rate, a recognition of liberty of conscience, and the willingness of the State to contribute something for the education of those who are willing to suffer something for conscience sake, to retain complete control of the religious teaching of the school, take what they can get from the Government and make up the difference with voluntary subscriptions. This Bill substitutes for contracting out the recognition of a certified efficient school. That means no more than this: that school attendance will be recognised as school attendance at a school so long as it is efficient from the point of view of the Board of Education, but the school must subsist upon voluntary contributions or it is starved. Therefore it is said, "You may be free. We give you liberty of conscience which, keeping entirely outside the Bill, we allow you to retain, but you shall be starved." I call that illiberal as compared with the contracting-out scheme of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture. Then coming to the facilities, we find that these are, compared with the Bill of 1908, meagre and grudging to the last degree. Seven thousand schools with something like a half-million children would be affected by this Clause. All those schools would be transferred to the local education authority, and denominational religious teaching could only be given under the facilities afforded by this Bill. How many areas are there in which children who desire undenominational teaching cannot obtain if? The hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Horne) said how should we feel if the facts were reversed of the single school area in which nothing could be got but denominational teaching? The facts are reversed in a great number of educational areas in which children whose parents desire them to receive denominational education cannot get it. Then we ought to have reciprocity. The Bill of 1908 gave us reciprocity. In return for the transfer of all voluntary schools it gave us the right of entry to all council schools. There is nothing of that sort here. There is no provision that in return for the transfer of the voluntary schools, in those which are now single school areas from the denominational point of view, there should be a right of entry to all schools which are in single school areas from the undenominational point of view. In the absence of a Clause of that sort I must certainly regard this Bill as a distinctly retrograde step as compared with the Bill of 1908.

I would ask why this particular form of religious teaching should be considered enough and sufficient for all persons in all denominations in the areas where nothing else exists, while denominational teaching, with all the securities under the Education Act in various parts of the country, is so absolutely unsatisfactory that it is necessary to propose this Bill? As to the question of facilities, I say that with the right of entry in the single school areas without reciprocity I think it is impossible to expect us to accept the Bill. Lastly, I come to the results. What was the position of the teacher under the Bill of 1908? Any assistant teacher in any transferred voluntary school was to be allowed to give religious instruction, and the head teacher was to be allowed to give religious instruction so long as he remained in a voluntary school, or if he was transferred to another voluntary school he might give religious instruction for five years. It is difficult to realise what would be the position of the head teacher under this Bill. In the rural districts the teacher is a feature in the life of the village, and a great feature in the life of the children. They regard him as their friend, having to receive their denominational religious instruction from him daily, and all of a sudden, for no reason that they can understand, the head teacher is to be the one man who is not to be allowed to give religious instruction. It seems to me this would upset the whole moral perspective of the children. Why should you suddenly displace the head teacher from the place which he formerly occupied, and why should he be considered no longer fit to give the religious instruction he used to give? Why should some outsider be brought in and have a suitable room provided in order to give this instruction, which is at once placed on a lower level, whereas it was previously given in the ordinary course by the head teacher, whom the children all regard with respect and affection?

These are the three points in which I think this Bill is a distinct step backward from the Bill introduced by the President of the Board of Agriculture in 1908. It reduces the contracting out school to the level of a certified efficient school, it gives meagre facilities and no reciprocity, and it dispossesses the teacher in a way which the President of the Board of Agriculture did not contemplate, and which I think would be most undesirable for the morale and discipline of the school. On these grounds alone I feel bound to oppose the Bill. What are the terms of transfer? They are practically compulsory. You want 3s. for each unit of the average attendance at the school. Take the very ordinary case of the rural school with, say, 100 children. The annual amount payable would be £15, but if the owners of the school wished to part with it, having lost their principal interest in it, they would get £300. I take it that a school built for 10s. a school place is one which would be regarded as built economically. In view of the fact that the school had to be kept in repair by the people from whom it is to be taken, it must have cost £1,000. I think that is a most unreasonable and practically impossible bargain to suggest to the managers of the voluntary schools.

The President of the Board of Education has told us that there will be great difficulties in providing suitable accommodation. Is this denominational teaching to be not merely given by an outsider but given in a place outside the school, it may be in a shed or a tent or some place where the children can just be kept free from the inclemencies of the weather? And what is more, is it to be left to the local authority to make it as difficult as it pleases to provide as little as possible for the maintenance of discipline, to provide as meagrely as possible the accommodation which is necessary to be given? If the local authority does not do its duty in making that provision, will the Board of Education insist upon it and compel them to do so? I am afraid the result of our discussion yesterday went to show that we cannot altogether trust the Board of Education to ensure that denominational teaching shall be given. I have stated my vital objection, and I do not wish to say more than this as regards the general question, that I do not believe you will ever settle this question while you proceed on the assumption that religious liberty is to be found in the expulsion from the school of everything except what has been called municipal Christianity, that is that form of Cowper-Temple teaching which is agreeable to the local education authority for the time being. You must take account of the religious feeling of other people. You must believe that other denominations do think that children are not properly brought up unless they are brought up in connection with a particular denomination, and that that connection should be insisted upon not only on Sundays but as part of their general education. Until that is realised it will be idle to suppose that anything but a forcible measure of expropriation which some hon. Members opposite desire to see, of the owners of voluntary schools for their property and the insistence by all the forces of the State that everyone shall pay for this Cowper-Temple teaching, and that no one shall have an opportunity of receiving anything else, will be a possible settlement, and that will not be a permanent settlement. If you will only understand that what we really want is freedom for the parent to get the teaching that he wants for his children, freedom for the teacher to give the teaching which he desires to give, and that we do not desire any special privileges for ourselves, but that everyone should have the liberty which we claim to enjoy—when that is recognised, and not until then, will this education difficulty be surmounted.


Many on this side of the House, who have listened with pleasure to the very temperate criticism of the right hon. Gentleman, feel great regret that, in view of the desire that we all feel to attain an educational settlement which will put out of the field these religious disputes which are so disastrous to school life, it is necessary for him to vote against this Bill. I believe that many, perhaps not only on this side of the House, feel that, although there are important points in the Bill with which they are not personally in agreement, yet the broad lines do present a way which will make possible a settlement of the most acute, perhaps, of all the problems of religious education—problems connected with those districts where there is no choice for the child of the school to which he is to go. I appeal to Members on all sides of the House to look at this Bill from the point of view of the main lines of its construction, leaving to the Committee stage amendment one way or another. If you decide in favour of the broad principle of the Bill, you go far, apart from details, towards meeting one of the greatest outstanding difficulties in connection with education. The right hon. Gentleman referred to three main points in which he feels that this Bill falls short of the measure introduced in 1908 by the President of the Board of Agriculture. In the first place he felt that he must vote against it, because it provided no method of contracting out, though, while he said that, he admitted, I think, that contracting out was undesirable in itself; it was an advantage more on paper than in reality. The right hon. Gentleman, therefore, must feel that it in no great loss that contracting out is not provided for in this Bill. On educational grounds, everyone in all quarters of the House condemns contracting out. One reason why the previous Bill could not be proceeded with was the great objection felt outside this House, and in many parts of the country, to the general right of entry; and I regret that the possibility was not considered of dealing with this need by another provision, which might be also made a part of our general education system by making compulsory the by-law which the right hon. Gentleman himself (Sir W. Anson) introduced, and under which, if the parents desire, children could be withdrawn from Cowper-Temple teaching for religious teaching outside the school. That would give, another option in the single school area. If it were desired to give the children Church teaching, they could be withdrawn for the first half-hour, if satisfactory arrangements for attendance were made with the approval of the local authority.

That would not destroy the unity of school life. It can hardly be called an exaggeration from the educational standpoint to say that any attempt to introduce general facilities would break up the unity of school life, which is so important. The other objection of the right hon. Gentleman was that it was unfair not to give greater liberty to teachers. Personally, I am prepared to go further than this Bill goes on that point, but I think it is a point which, with others, ought to be dealt with in Committee and not on Second Reading. If we could deal with this Bill in Committee in the conciliatory spirit shown by the speakers on both sides of the House, I feel that there would be every possibility of reaching a great settlement on very many issues. Even if we cannot hope to see the measure carried this year, yet if we come to an agreement on many points it may in the future help towards an abiding settlement. I think hon. Members on the other side hardly realise the strength of the feeling which exists on the question of tests for teachers. It is a difficulty that is inherent in the operation of the alternative schemes of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, and of the Noble Lord the Member for Oxford University, because they would involve some form of inquisition into the theological views of the teachers, and there would be always the danger that teachers would be tempted to sacrifice their convictions for the sake of pleasing the managers, whether in provided or non-provided schools. I think the only way out of that difficulty is to make a statutory provision that teachers shall receive the same salary and the same chance of promotion whether they do or do not give religious instruction. The teacher's conscience should be absolutely safeguarded in that way.

I think it has been quite clear to those who have followed this discussion that this is not a case in which we can divide ourselves up into one or two camps. There are a great many different forces at work at present, and there are very many different schools of thought, so that we cannot be classified simply as denominationalists and undenominationalists and secularists. There are far more shades of opinion in the House and at work in the country. We must work for a solution which will satisfy not one section, but which will satisfy a number of divergent views, and which will make possible within the framework of a national system this free development of different ideals of religious life. I think that in the very difficult case of the single school areas this Bill does give opportunities for sincere conviction on the part of the parent to get special treatment. It preserves the unity of the school life and makes for greater efficiency in administration. On all those grounds I think the Bill may be commended to the House. Most of all would I ask hon. Members to remember that if we can come together to discuss this Bill in Committee we shall be helping to make possible some solution which will leave within the sphere of school life the possibility of the religious influence being brought to bear. I believe the great mass of Members and the great mass of thoughtful people in this country are Anxious to preserve that opportunity for our scholars everywhere. We do not want to shut out from the school life the influence of religion, the influence of the personality of the teacher talking to the child about things that he cares for most and that matter most in life. For that reason, most of all, I hope we shall be willing, whatever our views may be about particular points in this measure, to give it a Second Reading, because we feel, that taken as a whole, it does open the possibility of a real solution.


I am sure it must be very gratifying to both sides of the House to have listened to the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down in which he has followed the hon. Member who introduced this Bill in the conciliatory attitude which they have both, adopted. For my own part, representing as I do a constituency in which there is a very large number of Nonconformists, I need scarcely say that I should be most disposed and most ready to fall in with any proposals which I thought might permanently remove the grievances for which, in common with many others on this side of the House, I think they suffer. Throughout the whole of this Debate it has been generally recognised that the Act of 1902 left a grievance of the Nonconformists which requires, and should receive, redress. The hon. Member for East Mayo referred to the fact that the Unionists were in power from 1902 to 1906, but did nothing to redress that undoubted grievance. The President of the Board of Education gave a sufficient reason for their not having done so, namely, that the Act of 1902 did not really come into operation until 1904, and between then and 1906 there was not time to deal with an amending Act. The late Leader of the Opposition over and over again said that he had always recognised that there was a grievance to Nonconformists after the Act, of 1902, and he looked forward to the time when that grievance might be redressed.

I own that I have some difficulty in supporting the Bill brought forward this afternoon. I cannot say that I should regard it as a permanent settlement of the difficulty. The leaders of the Nonconformist party have distinctly stated in letters, to the Press that the hon. Member opposite has brought this Bill forward without the authority of the Parliamentary Nonconformist party. Have we therefore any reason to believe that even if this Bill were carried it would be regarded as a permanent settlement of the difficulty? The President of the Board of Education, in the speech in which he pronounced the Government blessing on the Bill, did not say that the Government would regard it as a permanent settlement. They propose next year to bring in a comprehensive measure dealing with the whole subject of education, in which measure the difficulties under which Nonconformists labour will be considered. May I say, parenthetically, that I very much object to what appears to be the growing habit of the present Government of stating that they propose to introduce large and comprehensive measures dealing with important subjects, and then accepting private Members' measures dealing with parts only of those subjects, and parts in which the Government happen to be expressly interested? They did this last Friday with regard to Plural Voting; they are doing it again to-day with respect to the education question.

I think it would be better for all parties concerned that this measure should be postponed until an opportunity has been given to Members on both sides, not in a committee room upstairs, but outside the House, to consider what amending Bill might be introduced to which all parties would agree. Agreement was nearly arrived at in 1908 by the Bill introduced by the late President of the Board of Education. I very much regret that the course I am suggesting was not adopted by the framers of this Bill, for we do not find among the Members backing it a single Member on this side of the House. Therefore, one can only look upon it as to a certain extent a party measure, one that would probably serve the purpose of certain members of the Nonconformist party, but could not be regarded in any sense as a permanent settlement of this difficult question. I must own that the one speech which I most regret was the speech delivered by the hon. Member for East Mayo. I regret it because it was delivered in the name of Roman Catholics, and I do not believe for one moment that it represents the feeling of the Catholic party. Further than that, I am informed—I know not whether correctly—that there are not more than eighteen or nineteen Roman Catholic schools in single school areas, and the hon. Member for East Mayo is willing to throw them to the Nonconformists to obtain their assistance in the passing of a Home Rule Bill. I believe that is the worst form of bargaining. I "would like to deal in one or two other points. I think everyone will agree that a measure of this kind for single school areas ought to be what is suggested in the Amendment. It ought to be a measure fair all round. Can anyone opposite say that this Bill would deal in the same spirit with provided schools as with non-provided schools in single school areas. I take it that there are Churchmen who would find the same objection to the religious instruction which is given in provided schools in single school areas as there are Nonconformists who would take objection to the Church of England instruction which is given in non-provided schools. Therefore a Bill which is to reconcile all parties should be absolutely fair to both sides. I firmly believe that by a round-table conference, such as suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire, a Bill might be introduced which would remedy this undoubted grievance from which Nonconformists suffer in a large number of single school areas, but which Churchmen also suffer in other single school areas.

One point, which the President of the Board of Education did not seem to understand, must be made clear—that is, that to great numbers of the Church of England, and also, I think, great numbers of the Church of Rome, Cowper-Templeism is a form of religion which is just as objectionable to both of them as Roman Catholicism is to Protestants or as Protestantism is to Roman Catholics. What did the President of the Board of Education say? The President of the Board of Education says what he wants to introduce, and what we all might agree to accept, is religious education without creed. I cannot understand the possibility of religious education without creed. I can certainly understand moral instruction being taught in schools, but I believe and always have held that moral instruction can be very much better given with the sanction of religion. But what can we understand by religion that has no belief? It is really a contradiction in terms. Yet it is that kind of religion which the President of the Board of Education considers ought to be acceptable, and should be willingly accepted, by all parties in the State. What absolutely is meant by religion? The right hon. Gentleman said that he wants unity. He believed that some religious instruction was better than none. We all believe that some religious instruction is better than none, but it must be religious instruction. And religious instruction necessitates that underlying it there must be some kind of belief if it is only, as the President said, a belief in the omnipresence of God. Surely that is a creed. There are persons who do not accept that. Certainly they differ very much indeed in regard to what they mean by God, and therefore some belief is essential. It is almost impossible to unite all persons in any foundation of belief on which a superstructure can afterwards be built. The only fair way of dealing with religious education is to endeavour as far as possible to give that religious instruction to the children, of the State which their parents desire them to receive. I should like to say a word as regards the teacher. This Bill proposes, in Clause 4, to throw a distinct disability upon any teacher who has been giving instruction in a provided school. I have always during the discussions of the Bills of 1906, 1907, and 1908, said that we should never let the children suppose that the teaching of religion is in any way a subject inferior in importance to the teaching of geography or mathematics. To do so is to lower religion in the minds of the people, and when you throw this disability upon the teacher, forbidding him to teach, though he has been for a long time giving religious instruction, you are doing much harm to religion all over the country, which I am sure the hon. Gentleman in charge of this Bill would not desire. But Clause 4 distinctly states that although a teacher in a provided school shall continue to receive on transfer the same salary as he had received previously, he shall no longer be permitted to give religious instruction, even though he desires to do so. Surely you must realise that by that regulation

you would be dealing a blow at religious instruction which everyone would desire to avoid.

Sir CROYDON MARKS rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put," but Mr. Speaker withheld assent, and declined then to put that Question.


The point seems to me of so much importance that it cannot but be regarded as one of the essential condiditions underlying the whole of this Bill, and not merely an accident that might be removed in Committee. I wish to say to the hon. Member opposite, with whom I am largely in agreement, that when a Measure of this kind is introduced dealing with matters on which everyone interested in education feels very deeply, it is not enough to say that those who vote for the Second Reading of this Bill are not bound by all its details.

Sir CROYDON MARKS rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 209; Noes, 128.

Division No. 34.] AYES. [5.0 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Cotton, William Francis Hayden, John Patrick
Acland, Francis Dyke Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Helme, Norval Watson
Addison, Dr. Christopher Crumley, Patrick Henry, Sir Charles
Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D. Cullinan, J. Herbert, Col Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Higham, John Sharp
Ainsworth, John Stirling Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Hinds, John
Baker, Harold T (Accrington) Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Hodge, John
Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.) Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire) Holmes, Daniel Turner
Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple) Dawes, James Arthur Howard, Hon. Geoffrey
Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick B.) De Forest, Baron Hudson, Walter
Beale, William Phipson Delany, William Hughes, Spencer Leigh
Beck, Arthur Cecil Dickinson, W. H. Illingworth, Percy H.
Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George) Dillon, John Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Doris, William John, Edward Thomas
Black, Arthur W. Duffy, William J. Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)
Boland, John Plus Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)
Booth, Frederick Handel Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)
Bowerman, Charles W. Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) Jones, W. S. Glyn- (Stepney)
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Jowett, Frederick William
Brady, Patrick Joseph Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Joyce, Michael
Brocklehurst, W. B. Essex, Richard Walter Keating, Matthew
Brunner, John F. L. Esslemont, George Birnie Kellaway, Frederick George
Bryce, John Annan Farrell, James Patrick Kennedy, Vincent Paul
Buckmaster, Stanley O. Ffrench, Peter Kilbride, Denis
Burke, E. Haviland- Field, William King, J. (Somerset, North)
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Fitzgibbon, John Lamb, Ernest H.
Byles, Sir William Pollard Flavin, Michael Joseph Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)
Cameron, Robert Gladstone, W. G. C. Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Glanville, Harold James Lardner, James Carrige Rushe
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Griffith, Ellis J. Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rl'nd, Cockerm'th)
Chancellor, Henry George Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke) Leach, Charles
Chapple, Dr. William Allen Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) Lewis, John Herbert
Clancy, John Joseph Gulland, John William Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)
Clough, William Hackett, John Lundon, Thomas
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Lyell, Charles Henry
Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Hardie, J. Keir Lynch, Arthur Alfred
Condon, Thomas Joseph Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Harwood, George McGhee, Richard
Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.) Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South) O'Malley, William Sheehy, David
Macpherson, James Ian O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.) Sherwell, Arthur James
MacVeagh, Jeremiah O'Shaughnessy, P. J. Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
M'Kean, John O'Sullivan, Timothy Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.) Palmer, Godfrey Mark Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Markham, Sir Arthur Basil Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek) Spicer, Sir Albert
Marshall, Arthur Harold Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham) Tennant, Harold John
Martin, Joseph Phillips, John (Longford, S.) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Mason, David M. (Coventry) Pointer, Joseph Thorne, William (West Ham)
Masterman, C. F. G. Power, Patrick Joseph Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Meagher, Michael Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.) Walton, Sir Joseph
Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham) Ward, John (Stoke upon-Trent)
Menzies, Sir Walter Primrose, Hon. Neil James Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Millar, James Duncan Pringle, William M. R. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Molloy, Michael Radford, George Heynes Watt, Henry A.
Mond, Sir Alfred M. Raffan, Peter Wilson Webb, H.
Montagu, Hon. E. S. Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields) Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Mooney, John J. Redmond, John E. (Waterford) White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Morgan, George Hay Redmond, William (Clare, E.) White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Nannettl, Joseph P. Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven) Whyte, A. F. (Perth)
Needham, Christopher T. Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Neilson, Francis Roberts, George H. (Norwich) Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster) Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs) Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)
Nolan, Joseph Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Winfrey, Richard
Norton, Captain Cecil William Roche, Augustine (Louth) Wood, Rt. Hon. McKinnon (Glas.)
Nugent, Sir Walter Russell Roe, Sir Thomas Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Rowlands, James Young, William (Perth, East)
O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W. Yoxall, Sir James Henry
O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir Croydon Marks and Mr. Silvester Horne.
O'Doherty, Philip Scanian, Thomas
O'Grady, James Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.
O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.) Scott, A. M'Callum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Amery, L. C. M. S. Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K. Nield, Herbert
Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R. Goldman, Charles Sydney Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.
Anstruther-Gray, Major William Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton) Ormsby-Gore. Hon. William
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Goulding, Edward Alfred Paget, Almeric Hugh
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Grant, James Augustus Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Astor, Waldorf Greene, Walter Raymond Pole-Carew, Sir R. (Cornwall, Bodmin)
Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J. Haddock, George Bahr Pretyman, Ernest George
Baird, John Lawrence Hall, Fred (Dulwich) Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.
Balcarres, Lord Hambro, Angus Valdemar Quilter, William Eley C.
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington) Ratcliff, R. F.
Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester) Harris, Henry Percy Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon) Rawson, Colonel Richard H.
Barrie, H. T. Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury) Remnant, James Farquharson
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Hills, John Waller Ronaldshay, Earl of
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Hunt, Rowland Rothschild, Lionel de
Beresford, Lord Charles Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath) Samuel Sir Harry (Norwood)
Boyton, James Ingleby, Holcombe Sanders, Robert Arthur
Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East) Sanderson, Lancelot
Bridqeman, William Clive Jessel, Captain Herbert M. Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)
Burdett-Coutts, William Joynson-Hicks, William Smith Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton)
Burn, Colonel C. R. Kerr- Smiley, Peter Kerr Smith, Harold (Warrington)
Butcher, John George Kerry, Earl of Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)
Campion, W. R. Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Starkey, John Ralph
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle) Swift, Rigby
Cassel, Felix Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End) Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)
Cator, John Lee, Arthur Hamilton Talbot, Lord Edmund
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Lewisham, Viscount Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey) Thynne, Lord Alexander
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Touche, George Alexander
Craik, Sir Henry Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.) Tullibardine, Marquess of
Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)
Dalrymple, Viscount Mackinder, Halford J. Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud
Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Macmaster, Donald Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)
Denniss, E. R. B. McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine) Wolmer, Viscount
Faber, George D. (Clapham) Magnus, Sir Philip Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)
Falle, Bertram Godfray Malcolm, Ian Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Fell, Arthur Mason, James F. (Windsor) Worthington-Evans, L.
Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Moore, William Yate, Col. C. E.
Fleming, Valentine Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton) Yerburgh, Robert
Fletcher, John Samuel Mount, William Arthur
Gardner, Ernest Newdegate, F. A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Hoare and Mr. Peel.
Gastrell, Major W. Houghton) Newton, Harry Kottingham
Gibbs, George Abraham Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)

Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 209; Noes, 131.

Division No. 35.] AYES. [5.11 p.m.
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Gulland, John William O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Acland, Francis Dyke Hackett, John O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Addison, Dr. Christopher Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) O'Doherty, Philip
Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D. Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W)
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)
Ainsworth, John Stirling Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) O'Malley, William
Baker, Harold T. (Accrington) Hayden, John Patrick O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Helme, Norval Watson O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple) Henry, Sir Charles O'Sullivan, Timothy
Barran, Sir John N. (Hawick B.) Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.) Palmer, Godfrey Mark
Beale, William Phipson Higham, John Sharp Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Beck, Arthur Cecil Hinds, John Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)
Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George) Hodge, John Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Holmes, Daniel Turner Pointer, Joseph
Black, Arthur W. Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Power, Patrick Joseph
Boland, John Plus Hudson, Walter Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Booth, Frederick Handel Hughes, Spencer Leigh Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)
Bowerman, Charles W. Illingworth, Percy H. Primrose, Hon. Neil James
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus Pringle, William M. R.
Brady, Patrick Joseph John, Edward Thomas Radford, G. H.
Brocklehurst, William B. Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea) Raffan, Peter Wilson
Brunner, John F. L. Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe) Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)
Bryce, John Annan Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Buckmaster, Stanley O. Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney) Redmond, William (Clare, E.)
Burke, E. Haviland- Joyce, Michael Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Keating, Matthew Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Byles, Sir William Pollard Kellaway, Frederick George Roberts, George H. (Norwich)
Cameron, Robert Kennedy, Vincent Paul Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Kilbride, Denis Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) King, Joseph (Somerset, North) Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Chancellor, Henry George Lamb, Ernest Henry Roe, Sir Thomas
Chapple, Dr. William Allen Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton) Rowlands, James
Clancy, John Joseph Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Clough, William Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld., Cockerm'th) Scanlan, Thomas
Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Leach, Charles Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.
Condon, Thomas Joseph Lewis, John Herbert Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich) Seely, Col. Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Cotton, William Francis Lundon, Thomas Sheehy, David
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Lyell, Charles Henry Sherwell, Arthur James
Crumley, Patrick Lynch, Arthur Alfred Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Cullinan, John Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) McGhee, Richard Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Spicer, Sir Albert
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol. S.) MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South) Tennant, Harold John
Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan) Macpherson, James Ian Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Dawes, J. A. MacVeagh, Jeremiah Thorne, William (West Ham)
De Forest, Baron M'Kean, John Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Delany, William M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.) Walton, Sir Joseph
Dewar, Sir J. A. Markham, Sir Arthur Basil Ward, John (Stoke-on-Trent)
Dickinson, W. H. Marshall, Arthur Harold Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Dillon, John Martin, Joseph Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Doris, William Mason, David M. (Coventry) Watt, Henry A.
Duffy, William J. Masterman, C. F. G. Webb, H.
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Meagher, Michael Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) Menzies, Sir Walter White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Millar, James Duncan Whitehouse, John Howard
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Molloy, Michael Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Essex, Richard Walter Mond, Sir Alfred M. Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Esslemont, George Birnie Montagu, Hon. E. S. Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Farrell, James Patrick Mooney, John J. Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)
Ffrench, Peter Morgan, George Hay Winfrey, Richard
Field, William Nannetti, Joseph P. Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)
Fitzgibbon, John Needham, Christopher T. Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Flavin, Michael Joseph Neilson, Francis Young, William (Perth, East)
Gladstone, W. G. C. Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster) Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Glanville, Harold James Nolan, Joseph
Griffith, Ellis J. Norton, Capt. Cecil W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir Croydon Marks and Mr. Silvester Horne.
Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke) Nugent, Sir Walter Richard
Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Amery, L. C. M. S. Balcarres, Lord Boyton, James
Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R. Banbury, Sir Frederick George Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell
Anstruther-Gray, Major William Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester) Bridgeman, William Clive
Archer-Shee, Major Martin Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Burdett-Coutts, William
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Barrie, H. T. Burn, Colonel C. R.
Astor, Waldorf Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Butcher, John George
Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J. Bennett-Goldney, Francis Campion, W. R.
Baird, John Lawrence Beresford, Lord Charles Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred
Cassel, Felix Hunt, Rowland Pole-Carew, Sir R.
Cater, John Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath) Pretyman, Ernest George
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Ingleby, Holcombe Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University) Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East) Quilter, William Eley C.
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Jessel, Captain Herbert M. Ratcliff, R. F.
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Joynson-Hicks, William Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr Rawson, Col. Richard H.
Craig, Sir Henry Kerry, Earl of Remnant, James Farquharson
Crean, Eugene Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Ronaldshay, Earl of
Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle) Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)
Dalrymple, Viscount Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End) Sanders, Robert Arthur
Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Lee, Arthur Hamilton Sanderson, Lancelot
Denniss, E. R. B. Lewisham, Viscount Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange)
Faber, George D. (Clapham) Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury) Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton)
Falle, Bertram Godfray Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey) Smith, Harold (Warrington)
Fell, Arthur Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R. Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Onmskirk)
Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.) Starkey, John Ralph
Fleming, Valentine MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh Swift, Rigby
Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead) Mackinder, Halford J. Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central)
Gardner, Ernest Macmaster, Donald Talbot, Lord Edmund
Gastrell, Major W. Houghton McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine) Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)
Gibbs, George Abraham Magnus, Sir Philip Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)
Gilhooly, James Malcolm, Ian Thynne, Lord Alexander
Glazebrook, Capt Philip K. Mason, James F. (Windsor) Touche, George Alexander
Goldman, Charles Sydney Moore, William Tullibardine, Marquess of
Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton) Morrison-Bell, E. F. (Ashburton) Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude
Goulding, Edward Alfred Mount, William Arthur Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)
Grant, J. A. Newdegate, F. A. Wolmer, Viscount
Greene, Walter Raymond Newton, Harry Kottingham Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripen)
Haddock, George Bahr Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield) Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Hall, Fred (Bulwich) Nield, Herbert Worthington-Evans, L.
Hambro, Angus Valdemar O'Brien, William (Cork) Yate, Col. C. E.
Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington) Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G A. Yerburgh, Robert
Harris, Henry Percy Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon) Paget, Almeric Hugh TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Hoare and Major Dalrymple White.
Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury) Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Hills, John Waller Peel, Hon. William R. W. (Taunton)

Question "That the Bill be now read a second time," put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed "That the Bill be committed to a Com-

mittee of the Whole House."—[Mr. W. Peel.]

The House divided: Ayes,126; Noes, 207.

Division No. 36.] AYES. 5.20 p.m.
Amery, L. C. M. S. Denniss, E. R. B. Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)
Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R. Faber, George D. (Clapham) Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)
Anstruther-Gray, Major William Falle, Bertram Godfray Lee, Arthur Hamilton
Archer-Shee, Major M. Fell, Arthur Lewisham, Viscount
Ashley, Wilfrid W. Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes Locker-Lampson, G (Salisbury)
Astor, Waldorf Fleming, Valentine Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)
Bagot, Lieut.-Colonel J. Fletcher, John Samuel (Hampstead) Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.
Balcarres, Lord Gastrell, Major W. Houghton Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (S. Geo. Han. S.)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Gibbs, George Abraham MacCaw, Wm, J. MacGeagh
Baring, Maj. Hon. Guy V. (Winchester) Gilhooly, James Mackinder, Halford J.
Barlow, Montague (Salford, South) Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K. Macmaster, Donald
Barrie, Hugh T. Goldman, Charles Sydney McNeill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine)
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich) Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton) Magnus, Sir Philip
Bennett-Goldney, Francis Goulding, Edward Alfred Malcolm, Ian
Beresford, Lord Charles Grant, J. A. Martin, Joseph
Boyton, James Greene, Walter Raymond Mason, James F. (Windsor)
Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell Haddock, George Bahr Moore, William
Bridgeman, W. Clive Hall, Fred (Dulwich) Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)
Burdett-Coutts, William Hambro, Angus Valdemar Mount, William Arthur
Burn, Colonel C. R Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington) Newton, Harry Kottingham
Campion, W. R. Harris, Henry Percy Nield, Herbert
Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred Henderson, Major H. (Abingdon) O'Brien, William (Cork)
Cassel, Felix Hill, Sir Clement L. (Shrewsbury) Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.
Cator, John Hills, John Waller Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Hoare, Samuel John Gurney Paget, Almeric Hugh
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford Univ.) Hunt, Rowland Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk. (Bath) Pole-Carew, S[...] R.
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.) Ingleby, Holcombe Pretyman, Ernest George
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.) Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East) Pryce-Jones, Col. E. (Montgom'y B'ghs)
Craik, Sir Henry Jessel, Captain Herbert M. Quilter, William Eley C.
Crean, Eugene Joynson-Hicks, William Ratcliff, R. F.
Cripps, Sir Charles Alfred Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel
Dalrymple, Viscount Kerry, Earl of Remnant, James Farquharson
Dalziel, Davison (Brixton) Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement Ronaldshay, Earl of
Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood) Sykes, Mark (Hull, Central) Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)
Sanders, Robert Arthur Talbot, Lord Edmund Wolmer, Viscount
Sanderson, Lancelot Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.) Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Scott, Leslie (Liverpool, Exchange) Terrell, H. (Gloucester) Worthington-Evans, L.
Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'p'l, Walton) Thynne, Lord Alexander Yate, Colonel C. E.
Smith, Harold (Warrington) Touche, George Alexander Yerburgh, Robert
Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk) Tullibardine, Marquess of
Starkey, John Ralph White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Peel and Mr. Edward Wood.
Swift, Rigby Willoughby, Major Hon. Claude
Abraham, William (Dublin Harbour) Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Acland, Francis Dyke Gulland, John William O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)
Addison, Dr. C. Hackett, John O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D. Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) O'Doherty, Philip
Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R. Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)
Ainsworth, John Stirling Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West) O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)
Baker, Harold T. (Accrington) Harwood, George O'Malley, William
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.) Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth) O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)
Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple) Hayden, John Patrick O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick, B.) Henry, Sir Charles S. O'Sullivan, Timothy
Beale, William Phipson Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.) Palmer, Godfrey Mark
Beck, Arthur Cecil Higham, John Sharp Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George) Hinds, John Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)
Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H. Phillips, John (Longford, S.)
Black, Arthur W. Hodge, John Pointer, Joseph
Boland, John Pius Holmes, Daniel Turner Power, Patrick Joseph
Booth, Frederick Handel Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Bowerman, Charles W. Hudson, Walter Priestley, Sir Arthur (Grantham)
Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.) Hughes, Spencer Leigh Primrose, Hon. Neil James
Brady, Patrick Joseph Illingworth, Percy H. Pringle, William M. R.
Brocklehurst, William B. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus Radford, George Heynes
Brunner, J. F. L. John, Edward Thomas Raffan, Peter Wilson
Bryce, John Annan Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea) Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)
Buckmaster, Stanley O. Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe) Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)
Burke, E. Haviland- Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Redmond, William (Clare, E.)
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North) Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney) Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Byles, Sir William Pollard Joyce, Michael Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Cameron, Robert Keating, Matthew Roberts, George (Norwich)
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Kellaway, Frederick George Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs.)
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich) Kennedy, Vincent Paul Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Chancellor, H. G. Kilbride, Denis Roche, Augustine (Louth)
Chapple, Dr. William Allen King, Joseph (Somerset, North) Roe, Sir Thomas
Clancy, John Joseph Lamb, Ernest Henry Rowlands, James
Clough, William Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton) Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade) Samuel, Rt. Hoi. H. L. (Cleveland)
Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Lardner, James Carrige Rushe Scanlan, Thomas
Condon, Thomas Joseph Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th) Schwann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Leach, Charles Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Cotton, William Francis Lewis, John Herbert Seely, Colonel Rt. Hon. J. E. B.
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth) Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich) Sheeny, David
Crumley, Patrick Lundon, T. Sherwell, Arthur James
Cullinan, John Lyell, Charles Henry Simon, Sir John Allsebrook
Dalziel, Sir James H. (Kirkcaldy) Lynch, A. A. Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)
Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth) Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) McGhee, Richard Spicer, Sir Albert
Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan) Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J. Tennant, Harold John
Dawes, J. A. MacNeill, John G. S. (Donegal, South) Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
De Forest, Baron Macphrson, James Ian Thorne, William (West Ham)
Delany, William MacVeagh, Jeremiah Walton, Sir Joseph
Dewar, Sir J. A. McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Dickinson, W. H. Markham, Sir Arthur Basil Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Dillon, John Marshall, Arthur Harold Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Doris, W. Mason, David M. (Coventry) Watt, Henry A.
Duffy, William J. Masterman, C, F. G. Webb, H.
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Meagher, Michael Wedgwood, Josiah C.
Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor) Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.) White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid) Menzies, Sir Walter White, Patrick (Meath, North)
Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.) Millar, James Duncan Whitehouse, John Howard
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.) Molloy, Michael Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Essex, Richard Walter Mond, Sir Alfred Moritz Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)
Esslemont, George Birnie Montagu, Hon. E. S. Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)
Farrell, James Patrick Mooney, John J. Winfrey, Richard
Ffrench, Peter Morgan, George Hay Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)
Field, William Nannetti, Joseph P. Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
Fitzgibbon, John Needham, Christopher T. Young, William (Perth, East)
Flavin, Michael Joseph Neilson, Francis Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Gladstone, W. G. C. Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)
Glanville, Harold James Nolan, Joseph TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir Croydon Marks and Mr. Silvester Horne.
Griffith, Ellis Jones (Anglesey) Morton, Captain Cecil W.
Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke) Nugent, Sir Walter Richard

Bill committed to the Standing Committee.