§ With a view to promoting the efficiency of teaching and advanced study a local education authority for the purposes of Part II. of the Education Act, 1902, may aid teachers and students to carry on research in or in connection with an educational institution.
§ Sir P. MAGNUS
I nave put down an Amendment to insert, after the word "aid," the words "approved educational institutions within its area, and may also aid." This would enable a local education authority not only to aid students and teachers to carry on research work, but also to aid institutions in which such research work is carried on. It may save time if I may be allowed to move the Amendment in another form, by moving to add, at the end of the Clause, the words "and with that object may aid educational institutions." With your permission, Mr. Whitley, I will reserve the few words I have to say until that Amendment can be moved in its proper place.
§ Sir J. LARMOR
I beg to move, after the word "on" ["carry on research"], to insert the words "any investigation for the advancement of learning or."
I heartily welcome the principle contained in the Clause, and the reason why I put down the Amendment was with a view to eliciting from the President some sort of definition of what is intended to be conveyed by the very ambitious word "research." I have looked at the end of the Bill and find there is no definition of "research" there. I confess that when any person tells me that he is engaged on research I look upon him with a considerable amount of suspicion. The word research, which entered into these matters with a very laudable definition no doubt, has in time come to have a meaning which makes one rather creep at the idea. In the time before the War one heard questions and complaints in this House that the Government was advertising for research chemists for Woolwich Arsenal at 1537 a wage of £3 a week, and we are accustomed to see people of ordinary standing as analytical chemists advertising in the trade journals for research assistants at £1 a week, or something like that. While cordially approving the principle that encouragement towards the advancement of knowledge should be an essential part of the training of the teachers, not because they are going to advance knowledge very much, but because the effort to do so will be of extreme value to them, and give them a different point of view, I cordially accept it, but I do not like the notion of teachers under training going about and telling the world in a superior way that they are engaged in research. It is an attitude which the people who have most right to use such language are never guilty of taking up. I am afraid I have been very critical on the matter, but research is an invention of this century.
§ Sir J. LARMOR
I am very much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman, I hope the Committee has not misconceived the object with which I moved it, but I wished to make it clear that these people were not unduly to go about assuming an air of importance which their betters did not assume and which probably they would not assume except to the weaker members of the fraternity.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I beg to move, at the end, to add the words "either within or without its own area."
I move this for the purpose of getting an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman. The position at present is that there is power in the education authority to support an institution outside its own area. It was suggested to me that this Bill in some way restricted that power. I do not think it does, but I have put the Amendment down in order to get an assurance.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Sir J. LARMOR
I beg to move, at the end, to add the words "of university rank." 1538 The supervision of advanced studies of this kind is a very difficult and delicate matter, and one on which the local education authorities will do well to have every assistance they can from the universities, which are accustomed to it. It is a matter on which a good deal of cant, and even humbug, have been perpetrated. Universities and university institutions are accustomed to it, and would be able to judge whether it is being done with effect or whether it is merely a superficial affair. I should hope that something will be added in the nature of my Amendment, so as to secure that in institutions in which this higher kind of teacher is required the teacher shall be of university rank or subject to the supervision of university authorities.
It is with great diffidence that I part from the hon. Member for Cambridge University on a matter affecting scientific research; but there is one considerable practical objection to the Amendment in the form as it is moved. There would be great difficulty in determining what constitutes an educational institution of university rank. There are a number of institutions on the border line, and the insertion of these words would give rise to great disputes as to the legality of expenditure incurred under the Clause. I therefore hope that my hon. Friend will withdraw his Amendment.
§ Sir J. LARMOR
I have no wish to press it against the judgment of my right hon. Friend, but I would press my point that these technical colleges and institutions would be very much better with some sort of affiliation to a university centre, and if such affiliation can be promoted by putting some such words as these into the Bill which would give an advantage in that direction, I hope the President will bear the suggestion in mind.
§ Mr. KING
There must be some protest against this. We have great respect for the universities, but they do not contain all the information or education in the world, and I should like to see young fellows sent out not only to America, but also to the Continent to make research. I can imagine many ways in which they could do most admirable work to carry out the intentions of the Clause without having anything to do with a university.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Sir P. MAGNUS
I beg to move, at the end, to add the words "with the object of aiding educational institutions." 1539 I am very glad indeed that the President has accepted the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge University. I should be very sorry indeed if the, word "research" were understood to signify research carried on for commercial purposes which would in any way interfere with the excellent work done by the Department of Research. I think, therefore, in view of the Amendment made, that we might add these words; it would be an improvement. It frequently happens that students and teachers in institutions which are not university institutions are carrying on investigations intended to advance learning which are of the utmost value. I know of two demonstrators in two technical institutions who were carrying on investigations of that kind and had no means of obtain ing assistance from the Government who have since become professors at two universities.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Sir G. GREENWOOD
I beg to move, at the end, to add the words,Provided that such research shall not include experiments under the Cruelty to Animals Act, 1876.This Clause is very brief. It provides thatWith a view to promoting the efficiency of teaching and advanced study a local education authority for the purposes of Part II. of the Education Act, 1902, may aid teachers and students to carry on research in or in connection with an educational institution.Other words have been added by the Amendment of the hon. Member for London University. I have no intention to raise the whole question as to the right or wrong of what is called vivisection, which I prefer to speak of as painful experiments upon animals. It is perfectly true that I and a very large number of persons, both inside and outside this House—and the list includes some of the very best and the greatest names of Englishmen, either living or dead—object absolutely to painful experiments upon animals. We think it is a great moral wrong, and I have never heard a principle by which it can be justified. I am quite aware that some people think that we are fools and fanatics for holding these opinions, but that does not trouble us in the least. In fact, considering the quarter from which these epithets come, we take them as a compliment. This is not a question whether painful experiments 1540 are right or wrong. I wish to propound two propositions which ought to command the general assent of the Committee. The first is that in view of the fact that a great many persons, be they right or wrong, object absolutely to these experiments, on the ground that they cannot be justified, and that they are a great moral wrong, these experiments ought not to be put upon public funds. I do not see that there is any answer to that. People object to pay for religious education of which they disapprove, and we object just as strongly, perhaps more strongly, to being called upon to pay for things which we hold in utter detestation as a great moral wrong. The second point is that whether vivisection is right or wrong it ought not to form part of the education of young persons, male or female, at our State-supported public schools. That is a proposition which ought to meet with universal support. Such education may be very appropriate for Germany. It would coincide with the German temperament to teach young people by painful experiments upon animals; but it is not suited for the higher education of English or Scottish boys and girls and young people.
It may be said that we have no intention of doing any such thing, but the word used in this Clause is "research." I look upon that word with holy horror, because I know that the advocates of painful experiments upon animals conceive only one thing by research—that is research by vivisection. There was, and I believe that there still is in this country, a society known as the Society for the Defence of Research. That was simply a vivisection research society. There is no need in this country for a society for the defence of any other research. We have had a very painful experience of what is meant by the word "research" in the National Insurance Act. Section 16 of that Act provided that the sums available for defraying the expenditure on sanatorium benefit each year shall be, first, 1s. 3d. in respect of each insured person, and, second, 1d. in respect of each such person payable out of moneys provided by Parliament, and it goes on to provide that the Insurance Commissioners may retain the whole or any part of the money so payable out of moneys provided by Parliament for the purposes of research I myself put down Amendments, and my hon. Friend the Member 1541 for Haggerstqn (Mr. Chancellor), the hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr. Alden), the hon. Member for Biggleswade (Sir A. Black), and others, put down Amendments for the purpose of raising the question, but as a result of the guillotine closure those Amendments were never discussed, and now we find that a very large part of the funds is used for research which takes the shape of painful experiments upon living animals. And these are not pinprick experiments. I myself by question have drawn attention to some cruel experiments on dogs and cats. The parathyroic glands are cut and the sciatic nerve is severed, and the animals are kept days and days under observation until they either die or are destroyed. That is all done in the name of research, and is paid for out of public funds, so that we have a State endowment of vivisection.
§ Sir P. MAGNUS
On a point of Order. If the hon. Member is allowed to continue the Debate on these lines, with regard to the advantages or disadvantages of vivisection, or whether these experiments are carried on so as cause pain to the animals, the Debate must continue for a considerable time, and necessarily Members who take a different view must have an opportunity of replying.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not see where the point of Order comes in. I think that the hon. Member is entitled to put his arguments before the Committee. It is not always necessary to elaborate debate.
§ Sir G. GREENWOOD
I am not surprised that the hon. Baronet the Member for London University raised the point of Order. I was giving an example of how research work is now being considered under the National Insurance Act, so that moneys which ought to be applied to sanatorium benefit are now applied to these experiments which we hold in abhorrence and detestation. We want to guard against a further extension of this State endowment for painful experiments upon animals. We do not want it to be brought in under cover of an Education Act. I need hardly remind the President of the Board of Education that one of the greatest of our teachers, a man who bears an immortal name, John Ruskin, resigned his professorship at Oxford rather than be a party to the endowment of vivisection in the university. We who are hostile to painful experiments upon animals are often accused of being inimical to science. I utterly repudiate that charge. 1542 I have always been a humble worshipper in the temple of science, though I may not have penetrated beyond the vestibule; but the path of science is strewn with the corpses of dead delusions. I know that science and scientists are not convertible terms. I know there are certain things which Professor Huxley warned us against as pseudo-science. I know that things are done in the name of science which are a disgrace to the name of humanity. This is a thing that ought not to be brought in under cover of an Education Act and the higher education of British boys and girls. I have the greatest possible respect for the science of physiology, but it is not the only science. There is also the science of ethics, and I think we owe much greater reverence to the science of ethics than to the science of physiology. I put this Amendment before the Committee, for really I do not think it can be intended that boys, young men, and young women in the course of their education should, in State-supported schools, be taught lessons in painful experiments upon animals. If that is not intended, then I cannot see why this Amendment should not be accepted. Of course I know that the students and teachers would not be licensed to conduct these experiments, but they might be sent to classes where these experiments are carried on. Those who think with me think that that would be in the last degree detrimental to them.
I think the Committee will agree with the Government in the opinion that an Education Bill is not the place in which to discuss the merits or the demerits of vivisection, and I may further add that the Amendment which has been proposed by the hon. Member would not have the effect of preventing experiments upon living animals, nor, I believe, limiting the number of these experiments. It would merely have the effect of preventing a local education authority from assisting a young person to undertake post-graduate research at any university in the medical department of which some such experiments were already undertaken it would have the effect of raising a doubt whether a local education authority was justified in assisting, as many local education authorities already do, universities in the medical departments of which such experiments are carried out. I think that would be an unfortunate result, and the acceptance of the Amendment would not negative the principle to which the hon. 1543 Member objects—possibly quite rightly objects. Even if the Amendment were carried these experiments would continue to be assisted in many cases from public funds, and I do feel that a question of this importance should be dealt with separately, should be treated as a whole and in relation to the requirements of medical science, and it would be somewhat unfortunate if this Committee, in settling this particular Clause in the Education Bill, should attempt to deal with a principle of such far-reaching importance.
§ Sir G. GREENWOOD
Is it intended then that vivisectional research should possibly form part of the higher education in the schools? Is that part of the right hon. Gentleman's intention? I have not had a word of sympathy.
I think that under the operation of the Clause it would be competent for a local education authority to give assistance to a poor young man who had gifts for research and who desired to enter the medical profession.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The Clause goes a little further than that. I have just studied it, and it says:May aid teachers.The right hon. Gentleman says that the effect of the Clause would be that, if there were a capable young man desirous of entering the medical profession, the local education authority might give him certain assistance in learning certain matters connected with vivisection. That may be so, but why teachers?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Then the Clause goes considerably further, and enables public money to be used for assisting teachers, and students to practice research, and research which involves experiments on living animals. That may be a good thing or a bad thing, but I really do not think that that is a thing which ought to be put in an Education Bill. We are wandering very far. I had occasion earlier in the Debate to criticise a Clause which dealt with the employment of children, and enabled a local education authority to demand from parents and employers particulars of the work which the children were doing, and to say, "In our opinion we do not think you ought to do that work. Therefore, you cannot do it." That 1544 seemed to me to be going a little too far, but if now, after a discussion which is supposed to deal with education and continuation schools, in addition to settling where children are to be employed, we are giving out of public money to enable local authorities to instruct teachers and students to research involving experiments on living animals, to which a great many people object and think quite wrong, it seems to me that we are, in a very empty House, and after a long Debate on very serious matters connected with the War, going to pass something very far-reaching which is going to affect a great number of people who have no idea what it is. I think the right hon. Gentleman might give us some assurance that this will not be permitted. I do not think the majority of the country understand that under the Education Bill their money is to be taken for something to which many of them object. It really has nothing whatever to do either with elementary or secondary education, and I do appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to give us some hope that he will either accept the Amendment or move one on the Report stage.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I do not wish to accuse the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Fisher) of discourtesy, but I hope I made my point politely, and I do think he might have given a moment for reply. There is an opportunity now on the Question that the Clause stand part, and I hope that he will say a word, if it is only that he cannot accept my suggestion.
§ Mr. WHITEHOUSE
I think it would be a great pity if the powers of these local authorities under this Clause were confined merely to enabling teachers and students to follow advanced courses of research in educational institutions. I hope the President is going to make suggestions in regard to the use of this Clause to the local authorities, and I sincerely trust that one of his suggestions will be that the local authorities will make it possible for teachers and students of the right kind to travel in foreign countries, and particularly in America, to study the educational problems and methods of other countries.
I should be sorry to lay myself open to any imputation of discourtesy to the right hon. Baronet. That is the last thing I should wish to do. There seems to be a great deal of misconception as to the meaning of this very innocent word "research." The very last significance I attach to the word is the significance attached to it by my right hon. Friend. Research is a very wide term. It covers all forms of research—literary, historical and scientific, and this Clause was first suggested to me by a great municipality in the North, which had a first-rate technical college, and which desired some assistance towards the prosecution of a particularly valuable form of industrial research which would be very valuable to the local industries. As things stood, while this technical college could receive assistance from the Board of Education and from the rates for education, it was unable to receive assistance for research, in spite of the fact that it is well known to all teachers that a teacher who is doing a little original work is worth five times his value to his pupils, as there is nothing so stimulating to the pupils who attend the teacher as the knowledge that the teacher is extending the boundaries of knowledge. I look to very great results upon education in this country for the passing of this Clause. At the same time, I freely admit that the Clause may in certain rare instances be used to assist not individual students, but universities, and as universities possess a medical department, and as in the medical department it is possible under conditions carefully safeguarded by the Home Office for such experiments to be carried on, I take it that the contribution from the local education authority to a university would, if the Amendment were carried, be eliminated. I think that is an objection to the acceptance of the Amendment.
§ Sir G. GREENWOOD
I am very sorry that this discussion came on at this time of night. If it had come on earlier, and there had been more Members present, I should certainly, for what it is worth, have taken a Division upon it. We now 1546 know that there is to be a further State endowment from funds contributed by the general taxpayer—by myself and others—for this thing which we look upon with abhorrence as a moral wrong. The President says, "Oh, but this is carried on at universities, and the local authority ought to be able to subscribe to the universities even although they do carry on research of this description." But we want to narrow it down. He talks of other research—dyes and things of that sort. We are all for that. Let money be applied to that, but why should you not say, in this particular case at any rate, it shall not be done at public expense and in the course of higher education? I lament excessively the line which has been taken, and I must say I think in this case the President and the Government have been guilty of a monstrous injustice.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
The hon. Member said had this Debate occurred at any other time he would have pressed this question. It is only fair to say there is a very large number of Members here who disagree with everything he has said and who have not joined in the Debate because we have debated this matter frequently. It would be monstrous if the President gave way on this matter and selected this most useful branch of research to hold it up to obloquy and to exclude one branch of scientific research from the Education Bill.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.
§ Whereupon Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER, pursuant to the Order of the House of the 13th February, proposed the Question, "That this House do now adjourn."
§ Adjourned accordingly at Twenty-six minutes after Eleven o'clock.