HL Deb 31 July 1854 vol 135 cc955-6

House in Committee (according to Order).


said, he could not allow the Bill to pass without expressing his regret that it was but a temporary measure. He hoped the Government would prepare a measure which would place the schoolmasters' salaries at an amount which would be equal to their deserts.


said, that this being only a temporary Bill, intended for one year only, implied on the part of the Government an opinion that during the next Session it would be their duty to renew the endeavour they had made to provide for a more permanent system of national education in Scotland. But whether the future measure of the Government would be such a Bill as the one which the noble Lord (Lord Kinnaird) had just laid on the table (a Bill to amend the Law relating to Parish Schools in Scotland), it was not for him now to speculate or to state. He must, however, observe, that the measure which the Government had introduced this Session on the subject, but which unfortunately did not meet with success, did not convey a censure upon the parochial system of education in Scotland, which he (the Duke of Argyll) believed had proved of the greatest benefit to that country. The parochial schools were certainly sectarian in the sense of being denominational schools; but it was entirely untrue that they were sectarian schools in the sense of interference with the religious opinions of the people. The salaries of the schoolmasters were now paid by the landed property of the parishes, and he thought that it was a matter deserving of consideration, how far trading and commercial incomes ought to contribute a share towards the support of the system; in which case, of course, all who contributed would be fairly entitled to a certain voice in the management. He maintained that the Bill which was brought forward by the Govern- ment for improving the existing system of national education in Scotland, but which was unfortunately lost in the present Session, was a measure founded in the main upon the ancient law and practice of Scotland, and deviating from them only in those points where the altered circumstances of the country absolutely required it.


hoped that they should never see a system adopted in Scotland by which the public schoolmaster would be elected by the ratepayers—a system which he believed would be a curse instead of a blessing to the country. He was extremely glad that the noble Lord (Lord Kinnaird) had prepared a Bill on this subject with great care, and laid it on their Lordships table. He had been favoured by the kindness of the noble Lord with a previous opportunity of seeing the draft of the measure, and he believed it was one that would be more acceptable to the people of Scotland than the measure which the Government had introduced without success.


said a few words in explanation.

Bill reported without Amendment; an Amendment made; and Bill to be read 3a To-morrow.